Keisuke Honda, second from right, uses his head during a World Cup qualifying match against Singapore at Saitama Stadium in June. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
SOCCER/ J.League helping Southeast Asian teams get foot in Olympic door
Japanese professional soccer teams will dispatch coaches to Southeast Asian nations in an attempt to end their decades-long streak of failing to qualify for the men's event in the Olympics.
Yoshikazu Fujita scores a try during a Rugby World Cup match against the United States at the Kingsholm Stadium in Gloucester, Britain, on Oct. 11. (AP Photo)
RUGBY/ Japan scores 3rd win but no quarterfinal spot
GLOUCESTER, Britain--Japan's 28-18 win over the United States on Oct. 11 brought the curtains down on a Rugby World Cup pool stage that it lit up.
Miami Marlins' Ichiro Suzuki delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies during a baseball game Oct. 4 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo)
BASEBALL/ Ichiro to stay with Miami for 2016 MLB season
Miami Marlins' Japanese outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who owns the Major League Baseball record for consecutive 200-hit seasons, has signed a one-year deal to stay with the team for the 2016 campaign, the team said Oct. 6.
Hiroshi Kubo, left, president of the Yomiuri Giants, responds to questions at an Oct. 5 news conference. (Takeshi Iwashita)
Giants pitcher's baseball bets exposed after bookie tries to collect debt
A pitcher with the hugely popular Yomiuri Giants faces a lifetime ban for betting on baseball, including games played by his own team.
Miami Marlins' Ichiro Suzuki delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies on Oct. 4 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo)
BASEBALL/ Marlins' Ichiro pitches inning in relief
PHILADELPHIA--Ichiro Suzuki has accomplished quite a bit in his major league career.
Japan's Ayumu Goromaru struggles to advance during the Rugby World Cup Pool B match between Samoa and Japan at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes, England on Oct. 3. (AP Photo)
Upstart Japan keeps alive chance to advance to Rugby World Cup final 8
MILTON KEYNES, Britain--Surprising Japan rebounded from a loss to Scotland to keep alive its hopes for advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2015 Rugby World Cup with a 26-5 thrashing of Samoa on Oct. 3.
Mao Asada performs in the Japan Open championship in Saitama Super Arena on Oct. 3. (Nobuhiro Shirai)
FIGURE SKATING/ Asada leads her team to victory in Japan Open
SAITAMA--Mao Asada, marking her return to the world of competitive figure skating, had the highest score among female performers to lead Japan to victory at an international competition here Oct. 3.
Japan's softball team members celebrate their victory over the U.S. team, winning the gold medal in the Beijing Olympic Game in 2008. Five sports, including softball, were recommended to be added in 2020 Tokyo Games on Sept. 28. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
OLYMPICS: Tokyo recommends five more sports for 2020 Games
Five additional sports--baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sports climbing and surfing--have been recommended by the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics for inclusion at the 2020 Summer Games, it was announced on Sept. 28.
Yokozuna Kakuryu throws ozeki Terunofuji down in a tie-breaker of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo to clinch his first championship title at sumo's highest rank on Sept. 27. (Tetsuro Takehana)
SUMO/ Kakuryu wins tie-breaker to claim first title as a yokozuna
Kakuryu claimed his first career championship as a yokozuna on Sept. 27 after defeating injury-hit fellow Mongolian ozeki Terunofuji in a tie-breaker in an exciting conclusion to the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.
Two participants face off in their match at the 2014 U.S. Sumo Open held at California State University, Long Beach. (photo/ Dustin Snipes, USA Sumo)
SUMO/ U.S. Open slowly grows into event of 'huge' proportions
The U.S. Sumo Open has always been Andrew Freund's baby, and in the 15 years since its inception, has bulked up into a major competition with thousands of spectators and wrestlers from around the world.
Chunichi Dragons pitcher Masa Yamamoto (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
BASEBALL/ Masa Yamamoto, Dragons’ elder statesman of the mound, to retire
When Chunichi starter Masa Yamamoto first took the mound for the Dragons in 1984, many of his teammates in the current rotation hadn’t even been born.
Japan's Karne Hesketh, right, scores the winning try against South Africa during a Rugby World Cup match at the Brighton Community Stadium in Brighton, England, on Sept. 19. (PA via AP)
RUGBY/ Japan writes World Cup history with sensational win against Springboks
BRIGHTON, England--Japan recorded the biggest upset in Rugby World Cup history as substitute Karne Hesketh scored on the last play of the game to seal a 34-32 victory over two-time winners South Africa and send reverberations through the sport two days into the six-week tournament.
Japanese fans celebrate the 34-32 win against South Africa in a Rugby World Cup match at the Brighton Community Stadium in Brighton, England, on Sept. 19. (AP Photo)
RUGBY/ Fans celebrate Japan's stunning World Cup win over South Africa
Japanese fans celebrated their team's shock Rugby World Cup win over heavily favored South Africa early on Sept. 20 in a victory that is sure to give the sport a boost as the country prepares to host the event in four years.
Dettmar Cramer served as coach of Japan's national squad during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
SOCCER/ Bayern coach Cramer, known as 'father of Japan's football,' dies
BERLIN--Dettmar Cramer, the former coach of Bayern Munich who led them to two consecutive European Cups in the 1970s, one Intercontinental Cup and is credited with helping develop football in Japan, has died at the age of 90.
Koki Yonekura, center, after a last-minute goal on Sept. 16 (The Asahi Shimbun)
SOCCER/ Gamba edge Jeonbuk with last-gasp winner in ACL thriller
Gamba Osaka substitute Koki Yonekura struck a 93rd minute winner to send them through to the AFC Champions League semi-finals with a dramatic 3-2 victory over a luckless Jeonbuk Motors on Sept. 16.
Freestyle wrestling champion Saori Yoshida on the shoulders of her coach with a Japanese flag in Las Vegas on Sept. 9 (Toshiyuki Hayashi)
WRESTLING/ Saori Yoshida stays unbeaten for 16th consecutive major title
LAS VEGAS--Freestyle wresting sensation Saori Yoshida won her 16th world or Olympic title in a row at the World Wrestling Championships here Sept. 10.
Ryo Shinohara of Japan, center, is tagged out at the plate while trying to score on a ball that got past the catcher in the bottom of the sixth inning in the finals of the Under-18 baseball World Cup against the United States on Sept. 6 at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture. (Yuta Takahashi/ The Asahi Shimbun)
BASEBALL/ U.S. edges host Japan 2-1 in finals of Under-18 World Cup
NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Prefecture--The United States beat Japan 2-1 in the finals of the Under-18 baseball World Cup on Sept. 6.
Organizers plan to hold the final game of the 2019 Rugby World Cup at the 72,000-seat Nissan Stadium in Yokohama. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan set September deadline to get Rugby World Cup house in order
World Rugby has demanded Japan send a new proposal for its 2019 World Cup venues and provide assurances about the tournament's "financial security" after Tokyo's new National Stadium was scrapped as the centerpiece venue.
Miami Marlins' Ichiro Suzuki hits a single in the first inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Aug. 15 in St. Louis. (AP Photo)
MLB/ Ichiro gets 4,192nd career hit combined in major leagues, Japan, passes Cobb
ST. LOUIS--Ichiro Suzuki singled in the first inning for his 4,192nd career hit in the major leagues and Japan, passing Ty Cobb's total that ranks second in history.
New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning in Toronto on Aug. 15. (AP Photo)
MLB/ Tanaka tosses 5-hitter, leads Yankees over Blue Jays 4-1
TORONTO--With key relievers Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller both unavailable, the New York Yankees were counting on a solid outing from starter Masahiro Tanaka.

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