Japan won a bronze medal at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games, silver at Mexico 1968 and gold at Munich 1972. Subsequent decades have proved less fruitful. Japan missed three successive Olympic Games before returning to the stage at Beijing 2008 where they failed to win a match. Japan are aiming for their ninth Olympic appearance, after they failed to qualify in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In the World League, Japan will compete for the 23rd time, seeking to surpass their sixth-place finishes in 1990, 1993 and 2008. Last time out, Japan missed out on qualification from their World League Group 2 pool due to a rampant French side winning all their matches on the way to capturing the gold medal at the finals in Rio de Janeiro. They finished joint-bottom of Group 2 with Korea after winning just one of their Pool D matches in 2014, exiting the competition at the first stage. In the World Championship, they failed to qualify in the 2014 edition – the first edition they had missed in 54 years. Fortunately, they recovered and won the silver medal at the 2014 Asian Championships in Incheon, Korea where they lost to Iran in the final. Japan joined the FIVB in 1951 and have won the Asian Championship seven times and the Asian Games eight times. They took part in the World Championship for the first time in 1960, heralding an era of success.