Japan captain Makoto Hasebe is to undergo a second right knee operation as the Nuremberg midfielder continues his battle to be fit for the upcoming 2014 World Cup.
The 30-year-old, who has won 70 caps for Japan, was operated on in January following a damaged meniscus picked up while playing a winter break friendly for his national side against Romania.
His Bundesliga club Nuremberg, whom he joined from Wolfsburg last summer, confirmed the veteran cornerstone of Japan's side has returned to his home country for further surgery.
The Japan team doctor is set to perform the operation although no potential return to action for Hasebe has been muted.
Japan open their World Cup campaign on June 14 against Ivory Coast before further Group C fixtures against Greece and Colombia.