Keisuke Honda believes the Japan national team would be better served if more of their players were at the top level.
The CSKA Moscow star was part of the Blue Samurai side which were beaten 2-1 by Mexico in their final Confederations Cup group match on the weekend and he feels they would be more competitive if a higher percentage of his compatriots were in better leagues.
"Italy only had two days off and they beat us, so you need that sort of mental strength to win in any condition," Honda said after the Mexico loss, referring to the 4-3 defeat to Italy last week.
"The level of the club you play for influences that strength, so it's very important to play at higher-level clubs in stronger leagues.
"It's a very difficult problem [to improve Japan's overall play] but there are countries with smaller players who manage to defend well, so, if we can improve our abilities, I think we can do the same."