Japan's failure to end their 20-year winless streak at the rugby World Cup has left officials frustrated with the country's lack of progress as they build towards hosting the 2019 tournament.
The Japanese had targeted two wins in New Zealand but, despite winning many admirers for their spirited effort in defeat against France, their best result was another draw against Canada. The teams also drew at the 2007 tournament.
Japan also came into the tournament with high hopes of beating Tonga but lost 31-18, meaning they have still only won once, against Zimbabwe in 1991, in 24 World Cup matches.
"We had thought Japanese rugby had improved over the last four years, step by step. However, we found out first hand that we are far from world class," Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) Chairman Tatsuzo Yabe told reporters on Wednesday.
"Our target was to win twice at this tournament, but we are going home with no wins. It's hugely disappointing, and we are sorry for not being able to meet the expectations of our fans.
"But the future of Japanese rugby lies ahead of us. As soon as we return home, we will begin our rebuilding plans.
"We have a huge goal of making the 2019 World Cup a success and to reach that goal Japan must join the top tier nations at all costs."
Japan have now parted company with coach John Kirwan but said they had no plans in place to replace the former All Black.
"We want to thank coach Kirwan for all that he's given us over the last four years," said JRFU general manager Osamu Ota.
"He raised the overall quality and confidence of the team and helped establish a Japanese brand of rugby.
"We may not have attained the results we were looking for, but we have undoubtedly become a better rugby team.
"We still have a lot of catching up to do with the tier one nations and we need to invest in the development of the team more than ever."
Please double-click on the newslink:
for more rugby stories