Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni on Thursday called up four strikers from a second-string team that won the East Asian Cup last month to boost the Blue Samurai's firepower when they host Guatemala and Ghana.
The J-League foursome will join Manchester United attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa and CSKA Moscow playmaker Keisuke Honda in a 23-man squad including 11 Europe-based players for the home friendlies.
Japan play Guatemala in Osaka on September 6 and Ghana in Yokohama four days later.
"As a matter of course, I have expectations for the new players," Zaccheroni said. "I will prod the team to grow as one and become more united through the two matches."
One of the four strikers is Cerezo Osaka's Yoichiro Kakitani, 23, who made his senior international debut at the East Asian Cup in South Korea, where he won the golden boot with three goals as Japan roared on with two wins and one draw.
The others, all also aged 23, are Manabu Saito (Yokohama Marinos), Masato Kudo (Kashiwa Reysol) and Yuya Osako ( Kashima Antlers). They scored a total of four goals at the regional tournament.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has held a meeting with his top financial diplomat, as well as the Bank of Japan's governor, amid a report the "architect of Abenomics" had called for a Group of 20-wide response to the market rout. (cnbc.com)
Tokyo Electric Power, whose Fukushima Daiichi power plant was the scene of a nuclear disaster nearly five years ago, may get approval to resume nuclear power generation at another facility as soon as this summer, as Japan's nuclear safety agency is moving toward giving the "all clear" to the utility's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture. (Nikkei)
North Korea on Friday declared the scrapping of its comprehensive investigation into the issue of Japanese nationals abducted to the country decades ago, in retaliation against Tokyo's decision to impose sanctions on the reclusive state following its recent nuclear test and missile firing. (Jiji Press)
A lawmaker from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party who announced plans to take paternity leave has resigned over revelations that he engaged in an extra-marital affair while his wife was pregnant, reports TBS News (Feb. 12). (Tokyo Reporter)
Dubbed the "Black Widow" after the mate-eating spider, Chisako Kakehi awaits trial: Initially arrested on suspicion of murdering eight lovers for insurance payouts, her case is notorious in Japan as much for its body count as the shortcomings of the investigation. (scmp.com)
The Kobe District Court on Friday sentenced the daughter-in-law of a woman, who is believed to have masterminded a series of murders in the western Japan city of Amagasaki, to 23 years in prison. (Japan Today)
Los Angeles alternative rock outfit Red Hot Chili Peppers and Icelandic post-rock trio Sigur Ros were among acts named Friday to perform at the 20th anniversary of Fuji Rock Festival in July. (Japan Times)