Australia striker Alex Brosque says Japan's football is entering a golden age but the Socceroos will still have the edge in the World Cup qualifier in Brisbane.
Japan has world-class players at the peak of their powers such as Manchester United-bound Shinji Kagawa, CSKA Moscow's Keisuke Honda and Inter Milan's Yuto Nagamoto.
As the Socceroos prepare to take on Oman in the first of two torrid 2014 World Cup qualifiers within the space of five days, Brosque, who plies his trade in the J.Leaggue with Shimizu S-Pulse, spoke highly of the evolution of the Japan style.
"Every national team has their periods when players are playing in the best leagues," he said. "A couple of years ago we had that with our boys.
"Harry Kewell was at Liverpool, Lucas Neill at Blackburn, Mark Bresciano and Vinny Grella in Serie A.
"I think every national team goes through that period and Japan is going through that period now."
To emphasise how little separates the two sides, Japan overtook the Socceroos as the highest ranked Asian nation in FIFA's rankings this month.
Brosque believed that Australia's physical intensity could still trouble the more technically-minded Japanese players.
"I think they see us more of a threat more because of our physical nature," Brosque said.
"Playing in the J-League the players don't really like that.
"They are known for their passing and technique but when it comes to the physical side of it anyone that shows a bit of aggression in the J-League gets stopped a fair bit."
The Socceroos have developed a keen rivalry with Japan since Australia's stunning 3-1 victory in Kaiserslautern during the group stages of the 2006 World Cup.
The next time they met, the Blue Samurai sent Australia crashing out of the 2007 Asian Cup in the quarter-finals on penalties.
Australia held Japan to a 0-0 draw in Yokohama and won 2-1 at home in World Cup qualifiers in 2009 before Japan trumped the Socceroos 1-0 in extra time in the 2011 Asian Cup final.
Socceroos defender Mark Milligan, who is also based in Japan, said towering Australian striker Josh Kennedy and Brosque cause all sorts of problems for J-League defences.
"I think we still hold that physical factor over a lot of teams," Milligan said.
"That not so much bullying but our work ethic, the way we stick together, that is very much a part of our game.
"I know playing over there it is still a factor I use."