Mana Iwabuchi gave the host side the lead six minutes into the game. Yuka Momiki, Yui Hasegawa and Rikako Kobayashi added goals in the second half in the first international friendly for both teams since the Women’s World Cup in France a few months ago.
“The result put us in perspective, where we are at the minute and the enormous work that lies ahead of us,” said Canadian coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller. “FIFA Women’s World Cup’s and Olympics forge teams but being unsuccessful at pinnacle events also create blues. It seemed like we still have it and that we carried these emotions onto the pitch, which made us look like individuals more than a team.
“The performance we put on was not a Canadian performance and against teams like Japan, you end up beaten if you are not one solid unit. We want to be here in Japan fighting for medals at the Olympics next summer. But we need to qualify first and this is a massive wake-up call for all of us.”
Both teams lost in the round of 16 at the Women’s World Cup. Japan fell to the Netherlands while Canada was eliminated by Sweden.
“I’m obviously disappointed with the result,” said Canadian centre back Shelina Zadorsky. “We pride ourselves of being a solid defensive team, so to let four goals in is obviously very disappointing. If this is the reality check we needed at this point so be it.
“We have to move on from here, take all the learnings we can from this game and learn from it.”
Japan, the world No. 10, has qualified for next year’s Tokyo Olympics as hosts. Seventh-ranked Canada, meanwhile, is preparing for CONCACAF qualifiers to be played in January and February.
The two sides will meet again Monday in a closed exhibition match.