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JPN/Japan

Japan started to play an important role in international menís Volleyball in the 1960s, scoring a solid eighth place at their inaugural World Championship in Brazil in 1960. Japanese Volleyball was in ascendance at that time and the national team went on to place fifth at the next two World Championships in the Soviet Union (1962) and Czechoslovakia (1966).

It wasnít long after that Japan joined the world elite, winning bronze twice at the World Championships in Bulgaria (1970) and Mexico (1974) while also playing a leading role at Olympic tournaments, reaching the podium three times in a row: Bronze at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, silver four years later in Mexico and finally triumphing in Munich in 1972.

The 1984 World Championship in Argentina also saw Japan in decent form and fourth place was evidence of their enduring skills. However, the country has been waiting for a big success since then, with their best finish being ninth in Greece (1994) and in 2002 in Argentina.

A modest 15th place at the 1998 World Championship in Japan was a bitter disappointment for this ambitious squad, although they performed well in Asian competitions in the middle of the 1990s, winning the 12th Asian Games (1994) and the 8th Asian Championship (1995).

After Japan failed to qualify for the second consecutive Olympic Games in 2000, a new, highly respected coach was appointed to create a "new Japan", a strong team able again to challenge the world's elite.

The one chosen was Japan's former star player Mikiyasu Tanaka and under his command, Japan returned to the World League in 2001. The results from the 2002 and 2003 editions (both 13th place finishes) indicate that Tanaka still has to work on rebuilding the team. There was a lot learned following their ninth place finish at the 2003 World Cup that the Japanese will be hoping to put into practice in this yearís World League.

Prize Money
Japan Total Prize money US$
4 114 440

Overall Standings for Japan
World League Played Total Matches played Win Lost % Wins
11 144 40 104 27.8