Kenki Fukuoka is the only member of Japan’s Rugby World Cup 2015 squad to make the final cut for Rio 2016, with Akihito Yamada and Yoshikazu Fujita missing out on the chance to medal at rugby sevens.
Fukuoka, who played for the Brave Blossoms against Scotland in their only defeat at England 2015, made his one and only appearance on the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Singapore this April. Previously he had only played in one tournament, on home soil in Tokyo in the 2013-14 season.
Yusaku Kuwazuru captains a squad that includes Japan’s top two try-scorers on last season’s series, Kameli Soejima and Lomano Lemeki, who managed 15 and 13 tries respectively as the Asian champions also managed to win the series qualifier in Hong Kong to replace relegated Portugal as a core team in 2016-17.
Japan booked their place at Rio 2016 by winning the Asia Rugby qualifier last November when they beat hosts Hong Kong 24-10 in the final. They find themselves paired with New Zealand, Great Britain and Kenya in Pool C in the 12-team tournament, to be played at the Deodoro Stadium on 9-11 August.
SAKURA SEVENS HAVE TWIN GOALS
Chiharu Nakamura will captain Japan’s women's team as the Sakura Sevens look to secure their own core team status for the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. They will join the series if they finish as the best-placed side outside of the eight core teams competing in Rio.
Japan's women won the Bowl in the opening round of the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series in Dubai but found their first season as a core team a difficult challenge and finished 11th overall.
Led by head coach Keiko Asami, Japan's women booked their spots in Brazil after winning the Asia Rugby qualifier in November, when they defeated Kazakhstan 14-7 in the final.
Men's squad : Kameli Seojima, Yusaku Kuwazuru (captain), Lote Tuqiri, Katsuyuki Sakai, Shohei Toyoshima, Lomano Lemeki , Masakatsu Hikosaka, Kazushi Hano, Teruya Goto, Yoshitaka Tokunaga, Kenki Fukuoka, Kazuhiro Goya.
Women's squad: Yuka Kanematsu, Chiharu Nakamura (captain), Ayaka Suzuki, Ano Kuwai, Marie Yamaguchi, Makiko Tomita, Chisato Yokoo, Kana Mitsugi, Noriko Taniguchi, Yume Okuroda, Mio Yamanaka, Mifuyu Koide.
Reserve players: Aya Takeuchi, Keiko Kato