Bucharest - Japan fullback Ayumu Goromaru has scored six penalties to give his team a far from convincing 18-13 victory over Romania in the first Test of their European tour on Saturday.
Romania coach Lynn Howells made extensive changes following last week's 27-17 defeat by the United States but his side lacked the exciting cutting edge displayed by the rugby powerhouses.
Japan, who have reached an all-time high of ninth in the world rankings, started brightly and had the bulk of the possession but could not convert their overwhelming dominance into points.
Goromaru opened the scoring with a penalty after 16 minutes but The Oaks responded in style, taking a 10-3 advantage after flyhalf Florin Vlaicu scored a penalty, the only try in the game and an easy conversion during an impressive 10-minute spell.
The "Brave Blossoms" reduced the deficit to only one point at halftime after Goromaru slotted two more penalties and he confirmed his fine kicking form with three more penalties after the break.
Vlaicu made it 18-13 less than 10 minutes from time before missing another penalty in the closing stages at the Arch of Triumph National Rugby Stadium.
Romania, considered one of the strongest European teams outside the Six Nations, were missing some of their leading players including their first choice wing Madalin Lemnaru.
Japan fielded their strongest side after suffering two home defeats by the Maori All Blacks, games that did not carry full international status, earlier this month with coach Eddie Jones making only two changes as Masataka Mikami and Shoji Ito replaced Keita Inagaki and Luke Thompson.
Romania host Canada next Saturday while Japan visit Georgia on the following day.