Japan missed out on qualification from their World League Group 2 pool this season 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. Japan often have the advantage of playing in the World Cup on home court, but recent results have failed to live up to those of the past. They finished 10th in 2011 and 1999, and ninth in 2003 and 2007. Their best results were in 1969 and 1977 when they won the silver medal on each occasion. This is the 11th consecutive World Cup they have hosted.
They failed to qualify for the 2014 World Championship, the first edition they had missed in 54 years, but they 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. They 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.