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.
A magnitude 8.5 earthquake struck off the east coast of Japan on Saturday, shaking buildings in Tokyo, but there was no danger of a tsunami and no immediate reports of damage since the quake was extremely deep. (Reuters)
The explosive eruption on Mt. Shindake in Kagoshima Prefecture on Friday is likely to have involved the direct ejection of magma, or direct subterranean contact between magma and groundwater, experts say. (The Japan News)
Twelve of the 29 suma mackerel tuna have died at Tokyo Sea Life Park in Edogawa Ward, Tokyo, since the aquarium released the fish into its tank less than a week ago, it was learned Thursday. There has been a mysterious die-off of kuromaguro bluefin tuna, hatsugatsuo and other species of bonito at the aquarium since December. (The Japan News)
A day after the eruption of Mount Shindake caused the evacuation of a small island off Kyushu, evacuees on Saturday began bracing for a long stay away from home as the Meteorological Agency warned of more eruptions to come. (Japan Times)
On May 21, police in Japan's Miyagi Prefecture arrested a woman on swindling charges after the cashier at a local store erroneously handed her an extra 45,000 yen (US$370) in change. (rocketnews24.com)