The 36-year-old, who was named player of the tournament and was also the leading scorer at the finals as Japan beat United States on penalties four years ago, was named in the 23-women squad on Saturday for the June 6-July 5 title defence.
               
Sawa, who had stints playing club football in America before returning to Japan with Kobe Leonessa, briefly retired in 2012 but made a return to game with an eye on competing in Canada.
               
She helped Japan to win the Asian Cup last year but the midfielder was left out of the squad for the Algarve Cup in March following a number of injuries and a lack of form only for head coach Norio Sasaki to recall her.
               
"I'm counting on her to be a pillar of the team, on and off the pitch," Sasaki was quoted as saying by Kyodo News.
               
"Her qualities are necessary for the Nadeshiko right now. Let me stress that experience is not all she brings. I'm selecting her on her present form and fitness."
               
Sawa, who was named FIFA Player of the Year award in 2011,  made her debut for the national team aged just 15, scoring four goals in a thumping victory over the Philippines.
               
She has gone on to make almost 200 appearances for the team known as "Nadeshiko", named after a pink carnation, scoring more than 80 goals and also playing at four Olympics.

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