Ayumi Morita beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-2 Saturday, giving Japan a 1-1 tie with Russia in the Fed Cup event.
Maria Kirilenko defeated veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm 7-6 (3), 6-4 in the opening match.
Four-time winner Russia played without Maria Sharapova, Nadia Petrova, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva.
In Sunday's singles, Kirilenko will face Morita and Makarova takes on Date-Krumm. The Russian pair of Elena Vesnina and Margarita Gasparyan will play Morita and Misaki Doi in the doubles.
The winner faces Serbia or Slovakia in the semifinals on April 20-21.