Captain Greig Laidlaw kicked 16 points as Scotland ground out a 26-13 victory over Japan in Toyota City on Saturday.
Despite being without a number of their first-choice players, Japan put up a valiant fight against a Scottish team that was far from convincing. But in the end, it mattered little as Laidlaw’s precise kicking guided the visitors home.
Japan scored the game’s opening try through captain Shota Horie, before Laidlaw's three penalties put Scotland 9-7 up.
Yu Tamura kicked his first penalty to restore Japan’s lead, but two quick yellow cards to Hendrik Tui and Rikiya Matsuda hurt the hosts' prospects.
With Japan suffering a two-man handicap, Scotland received a penalty try, which Laidlaw converted for a 16-10 lead at the break.
Scotland exerted all the pressure on Japan in the second half and finally reaped rewards when South African-born prop WP Nel barged over for a 23-10 advantage.
Laidlaw and Tamura exchanged penalty goals in the last 10 minutes, but there were no further scoring opportunities for either side.
Japan – Tries: Shota Horie. Conversion: Yu Tamura. Penalties: Tamura (2).
Scotland – Tries: Penalty try, WP Nel. Conversions: Greig Laidlaw (2). Penalties: Laidlaw (4).
Japan – 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Mifiposeti Paea, 13 Tim Bennetts, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Yasutaka Sasakura, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Shokei Kin, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Naohiro Kotaki, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki.
Subs: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19 Kotaro Yatabe, 20 Hiroki Yamamoto, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Kosei Ono, 23 Rikiya Matsuda.
Scotland – 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Damien Hoyland, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 John Hardie, 6 John Barclay, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Subs: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Moray Low, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 David Denton, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Sean Maitland.
Photo: Scottish Rugby