Japan coach John Kirwan said his team needs to learn to go lower into the contact at international level if they want to take a step up in class.
Japan ran Italy close at the Stadio Manuzzi here on Saturday in a World Cup warm-up before going down 31-24, scoring three tries but conceding four.
And Kirwan identified the contact area as one in which they need to learn from the European game.
"We need to be a bit lower at contact with the ball in hand, we need to make sure we retain the ball, the second tackler needs to get in a bit quicker to slow things down," he said.
"I felt the referee was favouring the opposition so we needed good discipline. We needed to cope when the Italians slowed the ball down and we need to know what to do.
"We must have the ability to stop the scrum and maul, that was a positive thing for Italy. We have to use our physicality, if you go in high in the contact you lose, if you're low in contact you break the gain-line.
"We need to learn to beat Italy, Scotland and Ireland if we want to be in the top eight in 2015.
"This was a great lesson for our team, if we play against the Pacific teams they get tired towards the end but Italy were constant."
The main plus side for Japan was their running with the ball in hand, particularly through imports James Arlidge and Ryan Nicholas, who played at flyhalf and inside centre respectively.
"When we hang onto the ball we play a team game, we like to use the ball out wide, take the ball to the line and let the defence make a decision," added Kirwan.
"Our forwards work very hard across the field to give us fast ball. But we need more patience on the line breaks to hold on to the ball and keep on playing.
"I'm happy with the variation of our game between kicking and holding on with the ball in hand, that's very positive.
"I thought we left a try out there when James kicked it through (and Nicholas just failed to touch down).
"Right acorss the board we played well, I'm happy, we'd never played a northern hemisphere team with the constant pressure in the line-out, the maul and scrum.
"At times I felt the penalties at scrums could've gone the other way but that's what we're here for, to learn."
In the first half Italy backs Matteo Pratichetti and Edoardo Gori gave the hosts a dream start with tries inside the first 12 minutes.
Japan replied with two well worked tries in the backs through Takeysa Usuzuki and Koji Taira and they actually went into the break in front thanks to an Arlidge penalty.
But Italy made the difference in the second period with push-over tries from front-row forwards Leonardo Ghiraldini and Andrea Lo Cicero before Japan scored a penalty try when Italy were down to 14 men.
Italy coach Nick Mallett felt there were positives for his side but bemoaned the fact that Italian clubs are full of foreign players in crucial positions.
His flyhalf on the night Riccardo Bocchino had hardly played all season with Aironi.
"There's no doubts that he's a player with a bright future but it's difficult to say he's the solution to our problems at number 10," said Mallett.
"The problem at number 10 is a problem Italy has had for 10 years, the problem is top division teams have always signed contracts with foreigners to play at 10 who can't play for Italy.
"We saw the same problem at scrum-half for my first two years. I'm delighted we've found Gori and (Fabio) Semenzato.
"But the important thing is to give an opportunity to Italians in key positions at club level and especially at Celtic League level. That's nine, 10, second row, props, eight, in all of them we need Italians."
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The Barbarians are one of the top invitational rugby sides with a long history and classic rugby jersey.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Lions get ready for their matches with this green training jersey. It's what the players wear. Get in the Gear!
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The Lions are ready to get their Australia tour underway. They arrive in Perth on Monday.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.