Click here for full WTCC Motegi qualifying results
Reigning World Touring Car Champion Jose Maria Lopez has bolted to a stunning pole position at Motegi by beating Citroen team-mate Yvan Muller by almost a full second.
The French driver was the last to take to the track in the WTCC pole shootout and with Muller setting the time to beat with a 1m 56.409s Lopez beat it with ease with a phenomenal 1m 55.602s.
Mehdi Bennani made it a Citroen 1-2-3 while also taking the top independents' honour, ahead of factory Honda driver Tiago Monteiro and Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen team-mate Tom Chilton.
Rookie Nestor Girolami narrowly missed out on the pole shootout for Polestar Cyan Volvo but will start the feature race from sixth on the grid, ahead of top Lada driver Nick Catsburg.
Fellow factory Volvo driver Thed Bjork grabbed eighth ahead of the second Castrol Honda of Rob Huff, while Norbert Michelisz in the JAS Honda landed the reserve pole position in Japan with 10th place in qualifying.