Japan reached the Challenge Trophy final in Hong Kong to move themselves out of the relegation zone of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
With the Olympic Games taking place on home soil in 2020, a spot on the main World Series as a core side will play a crucial role in their preparation with ten tournaments internationally.
Heading into this weekend’s Singapore Sevens, with just London and Paris to follow, Japan know the work is not over despite moving ahead of Wales and closing the gap on Kenya to just two points.
In Hong Kong, despite three losses on day one, Japan came to the fore in the Challenge Trophy quarter and semi finals.
In the matches that mattered first they beat Wales 38-7 and then Kenya 21-12.
Despite losing to Scotland in the final, the victories against the two sides closest to them in the relegation battle provided them with valuable points in the hunt for survival.
Kameli Soejima, who scored in the victory against Wales and twice in the final against Scotland, knows the work is not done yet however as they get set to face New Zealand, Samoa and Spain in Singapore.
“It’s not over yet,” said Soejima. “We earned some valuable points in Hong Kong but we must continue doing so with three rounds to go to stay on the series.”