Cape Town - AC Milan attacking midfielder Keisuke Honda says his belief that Japan can win the 2014 Soccer World Cup has not diminished.
The Blue Samurai made their debut appearance at a World Cup in 1998, bowing out at the group stage after suffering defeat in all three games.
Since then, they have twice progressed to the Round of 16, finishing in ninth place on both occasions.
However, the 27-year-old is paying no heed to Japan's past exploits in the world famous competition.
He said: "I have kept saying about the aim to win the World Cup and it does not matter how other people think about it.
“I could not be happier as a football player if there are more people to expect us to win it than before, as a result of having said that.
"I will never give up and persist in my belief."
Looking ahead to Friday's World Cup warm-up clash with Zambia, he added: "The game will be about how much we can replicate the actual first game against Cote d'Ivoire.
"Of course it is different to the actual first game, but I want to make sure of adjusting in details and we want it to be convincing one for us."
Since making his international debut in 2008, Honda has been called up 53 times, scoring 20 goals in the process.
Since then, they have twice progressed to the Round of 16.
Japan are in Group C along with Ivory Coast, Colombia and Greece.