In 2011, Japan were boosted by the return of Daisuke Usami, the team’s experienced setter and captain who missed almost a year because of an ankle injury. He came back following the 2010 FIVB Men’s World Championship just in time to compete at the Guangzhou Asian Games in November 2010. His inspiration led the team to gold after beating Korea in the semifinals and Iran in the final.
The 2011 FIVB World League was a challenging one for Tatsuya Ueta's team as they had to play all 12 of their matches away from home due to the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Japan's eventual record was not encouraging, with their sole win coming against Germany in a group that also featured Bulgaria and Russia. A couple of weeks ahead of the Asian Championship in September, they lost their most effective outside spiker, Kunihiro Shimizu, who damaged knee ligaments. With their confidence dented, they lost in the quarterfinals, having been beaten by India, Iran and Korea.
Ueta worked hard to reinvigorate his squad but they failed to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games on their first attempt at last year’s World Cup, finishing 10th. However, they come into the 2012 season with confidence.