Cape Town - Japan’s shock win over the Springboks has taken a toll on his team, current coach Jamie Joseph believes.
Japan, then coached by Eddie Jones, stunned the rugby world when they beat South Africa 34-32 in Brighton at last year's Rugby World Cup.
Joseph, who succeeded Jones as Japan coach, has drafted in 17 new players and admits lack of hunger has had an effect on them.
"We've lost a lot of players to retirement or unavailability. The fame of the match against South Africa has paid a toll," Joseph told BBC Sport.
"Players aren't as hungry or as motivated to play for Japan anymore. That is a concern for me and the coaches, but we've got a lot of new guys and they're starting to build into a good side."
Under the guidance of Joseph, the Japanese were beaten 54-20 by Argentina before beating Georgia 28-22 last weekend.
This weekend they face Wales in Cardiff, a team they beat 23-8 in their last encounter in 2013.
But Joseph expects a much tougher outing this weekend.
"Wales is a very strong team playing at home and most teams struggle to win here," said Joseph.
Joseph, 46, played 20 Tests for the All Blacks between 1992 and 1995, before going on to play nine Tests for Japan in 1999.
He also coached the Highlanders to their first Super Rugby title in 2015.