Squandering a series of scoring chances created by defence-splitting crosses that sailed across the goalmouth, India managed to earn full points against the lowly-ranked rivals through goals from young drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh (24th minute) and captain Sardar Singh (32nd) after Kenji Kitazato (17th) gave Japan the lead.

Earlier, Pakistan banked on two goals from Muhammad Arslan Qadir to open their campaign with a 3-1 victory over Canada in extremely humid conditions at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium here.

Qadir opened the account with a field goal in the 27th minute and converted a penalty corner a minute later to give Pakistan a two-goal lead. Canada then pulled one back through Richard Hildreth's flash strike, but Muhammad Arshad capitalised on a 52nd-minute penalty corner to seal Pakistan's victory.

In their opening match later in the day, India struggled to find a leeway through the hard-working Japanese outfit, nine of whose 18-member squad at this tournament are making their international debut.

After an early foray into the Japanese circle, the Indian strikers were not allowed break into the scoring zone by the rivals, who also managed to assert some pressure on the Indian defenders.

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