Mitsutake Hagimoto's side are ranked 17th and are likely to provide the Irish squad with decent opposition over two Tests on June 12 and 19, despite the Cherry Blossoms' punishing spring schedule.
Japan toured South American last month - losing to both Uruguay (24-18) and an experimental Argentina side (68-36). Two weeks ago, they began their bid to qualify for the 2007 World Cup by thumping Hong Kong 91-3 in Tokyo, while their second Asian series win over Korea was marked by nineteen unanswered points scored in the final quarter.
Captained by strong ball-carrier Takuro Miuchi, the Japanese face Romania on Wednesday, May 25 in a semi-final of the 2005 Super Cup (formerly the Pacific Rim Cup), and should they make it past the eastern Europeans, they will face a final against either the US Eagles or Canada four days later.
Japan's coaching staff was bolstered by the recruitment of former France 'B' coach Jean-Pierre Elissalde and ex-Morocco boss Edmond Jorda last month. The duo will take charge of the Japanese forwards and backs respectively.
Ireland last faced the Japanese in November 2000 when they collected a facile 78-9 win over the Lansdowne Road visitors. Ronan O'Gara (pictured above) converted ten of the 11 tries scored for a personal points haul of 23.
Leinster winger Denis Hickie grabbed a hat-trick of tries, while Ulster winger Tyrone Howe and current Lions skipper Brian O'Driscoll each weighed in with two touchdowns apiece.
There were also World Cup wins for the men-in-green over Japan in both 1991 (32-16, Lansdowne Road) and 1995 (50-28, Bloemfontein).