Japan will go into a home tie against Belgium as favourites and hold a 3-0 record against the visitors although they have not been drawn against each other since 1991.
Japan has been on a win streak of late dating back to a World Group II play-off match against Slovenia in 2010. In that time they have risen from Asia/Oceania Zone Group I to this opportunity at cracking the World Group for the first time since 2007. They have only lost one rubber (a retirement) out of a total of 21 since that last defeat, including all five against Slovenia in their last tie.
The 2011 semifinalists Belgium struggled in the absence of Kim Clijsters in a first round World Group tie against Serbia. Yanina Wickmayer once again won both her singles matches in a losing effort but will look back on a third set in the doubles when partnering Alison van Uytvanck as a missed opportunity.