Members of Japan's women's rugby sevens team celebrate at the final whistle of the Nov. 29 final against Kazakhstan, which the Sakura Sevens won 14-7 to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympics. (Toshiyuki Hayashi)
RUGBY/ Women's rugby sevens team qualifies for Rio Olympics
Continuing the breakout year for Japanese rugby, the women's sevens team qualified on Nov. 29 for the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympics in front of a home crowd in Tokyo.
Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu reacts after his performance during the free skating of the NHK Trophy figure skating in Nagano on Nov. 28. (AP Photo)
FIGURE SKATING/ Olympic champion Hanyu sets record score to win NHK Trophy
NAGANO--Olympic figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu set a record score for the second straight night to win the NHK Trophy on Nov. 28 and qualify for the Grand Prix Final.
Yuzuru Hanyu performs during a short program of NHK Trophy figure skating in Nagano on Nov. 27. (AP Photo)
FIGURE SKATING/ Hanyu sets record high score in short program
NAGANO--Olympic figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu set a record high score in the short program at the NHK Trophy on Nov. 27.
Hiroshima Carp starting pitcher Kenta Maeda (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
BASEBALL/ Carp ace Maeda hopes to move to MLB in 2016
Hiroshima Carp starting pitcher Kenta Maeda said he wants to play for a team in Major League Baseball next season.
Ozeki Kisenosato forces out yokozuna Harumafuji at the Fukuoka Kokusai Center on Nov. 22. (Motoki Nagasawa)
SUMO/ Harumafuji loses match but wins seventh career championship
FUKUOKA--Yokozuna Harumafuji ended his two-year title drought by winning the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Nov. 22, but he needed some help from fellow yokozuna Kakuryu.
Kitanoumi performs the "dohyo-iri" ring-purification ceremony at Meiji Shrine in July 1974 after gaining promotion to yokozuna. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
SUMO/ Legendary yokozuna Kitanoumi dies at 62
Kitanoumi, one of the greatest yokozuna to ever step into the dohyo ring who went on to become chairman of the Japan Sumo Association, has died at age 62.
Eddie Jones at a news conference on Nov. 20 (The Asahi Shimbun)
RUGBY/ Australian Jones named England's first foreign coach
LONDON--Australian Eddie Jones has been appointed as the first foreign coach of the England rugby team on a contract taking him through the 2019 World Cup, the Rugby Football Union said on Nov. 20.
Toshiaki Endo, the minister in charge of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, right, and Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe, left, visit the site for the new National Stadium in Tokyo in October. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
OLYMPICS/ Japan sets goal to break record of 16 gold medals at Tokyo Games
Japan aims to have a record number of its athletes standing at the top of the podiums in the Tokyo Olympics, the government’s draft basic policy for the 2020 Games showed.
Keisuke Honda, left, scores against Cambodia in Phnom Penh on Nov. 17. (The Asahi Shimbun)
SOCCER/ Japan top in World Cup group after struggle to beat Cambodia
PHNOM PENH--Japan edged closer to its sixth World Cup finals on Nov. 17 after a lackluster 2-0 win over bottom side Cambodia that took an own goal to break the deadlock and a last-minute Keisuke Honda header to salvage some pride.
BASEBALL/ Nakata powers undefeated Japan to 10-2 win over U.S. at Premier12
TAIPEI--Sho Nakata hit a tiebreaking three-run home run in the sixth inning on Nov. 14 to lead Japan to a 10-2 win over the United States in the Premier12 baseball tournament.
Mu Kanazaki scores Japan's first goal in a World Cup qualifier against Singapore in the Southeast Asian country on Nov. 12. (The Asahi Shimbun)
SOCCER/ Kanazaki scores on Japan return in rout of Singapore
SINGAPORE--An understrength yet totally dominant Japan extracted the required revenge by cruising to a 3-0 victory over Singapore in their World Cup qualifier on Nov. 12.
Sho Nakata slugs a line drive to center field in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Japan a 6-5 sayonara win over Mexico at the Premier12 baseball tournament in Taipei on Nov. 11. (Nikkan Sports)
BASEBALL/ Nakata leads Japan to 6-5 win over Mexico at Premier12
TAIPEI--Sho Nakata drove in five runs, including the winning run in the ninth inning, to lead top-ranked Japan to a 6-5 walk-off win over Mexico in the Premier12 baseball tournament on Nov. 11.
Three Yomiuri Giants players, from left, Satoshi Fukuda, Shoki Kasahara and Ryuya Matsumoto, were involved in illegal betting on baseball games. (Provided by Yomiuri Giants)
3 Yomiuri Giants pitchers banned for gambling on baseball
Nippon Professional Baseball has banned three Yomiuri Giants pitchers indefinitely after they were found to have bet on baseball games.
Japan team members celebrate in Hong Kong on Nov. 8 after they qualified the 2016 Rio Olympics, winning the final match of the Asia Rugby Sevens against Hong Kong. (AP Photo)
RUGBY/ Japan's men beat Hong Kong in sevens to qualify for Rio Olympics
HONG KONG--Japan booked Asia's berth at the 2016 Rio Olympics rugby sevens competition defeating arch-rivals Hong Kong 24-10 in a gripping final at the Asia Rugby Sevens qualifying tournament on Nov. 8.
Japan's Mao Asada competes in the Ladies Free Skating program during the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating at the Capital Gymnasium in Beijing, China, Nov. 7. (AP Photo)
Asada wins Cup of China in comeback at Grand Prix series
BEIJING--Three-time world champion Mao Asada won the Cup of China on Nov. 7, completing a successful return to the Grand Prix series after taking a year off.
Japan's Mao Asada reacts after competing in the Ladies Short program during the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating held at the Capital Gymnasium in Beijing, China, Nov. 6. (AP Photo)
Mao Asada 1st after short program at Cup of China
BEIJING--Three-time world champion Mao Asada made a strong return to the Grand Prix series by finishing first in the women's short program at the Cup of China on Nov. 6.
Ayumu Goromaru, a member of the Japanese rugby national team, answers a question in a news conference in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Nov. 5. (Takuya Isayama)
RUGBY/ Goromaru relishes new challenge as he heads Down Under in Super Rugby league
HAMAMATSU, Shizuoka Prefecture--Japanese rugby superstar Ayumu Goromaru, who will play for an Australian team in the Southern Hemisphere’s top-level league in 2016, said on Nov. 5 that he is looking forward to starting over.
Kohei Uchimura performs on the horizontal bar at the world gymnastics championships in Glasgow on Nov. 1. (The Asahi Shimbun)
GYMNASTICS/ Uchimura swings to horizontal bar gold
GLASGOW--A high-flying routine on the horizontal bar allowed Kohei Uchimura to soar past his rivals and complete a hat-trick of gold medals at the world gymnastics championships on Nov. 1.
Kenzo Shirai celebrates after winning a world championship gold medal in the men's floor exercise in Glasgow, Scotland, on Oct. 31. (Kazuhiro Nagashima/ The Asahi Shimbun)
GYMNASTICS/ Japan's Kenzo Shirai wins world floor exercise title
GLASGOW, Scotland--Japan's Kenzo Shirai picked up his second world championship gold medal in the men's floor exercise on Oct. 31 with an acrobatic routine that easily topped the eight-man final.
Eddie Jones speaks to the media at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on Oct. 30. (AP Photo)
RUGBY/ Teen talent must be nurtured to build on Japan's brilliant World Cup, insists coach Jones
Japan rugby coach Eddie Jones says the nation needs to develop players at the grass-roots level in order to build on its amazing success at this year's Rugby World Cup.

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