Japanese duo Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara stormed into a convincing lead on home ice as they got their bid to win a first World Figure Skating Championships gold medal off to the best possible start.
The duo won silver in Montpellier in 2022, after finishing behind Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier from the United States.
But they have ended the day well ahead of their American rivals on the scorecards in Saitama, with a total of 80.72 points in the short program.
The defending world champions will have a lot to do in the pairs free skating after they ended the opening day of the Championship in second with a score of 74.64.
European champions Sara Conti and Niccola Macii of Italy took the short program bronze medal with a score of 73.24.
There were two more encouraging performance from Japanese skaters in the women’s short program.
Kaori Sakamoto boosted her hopes of defending her world title, inspiring Japan to a short program podium one-two.
Sakamoto, who took gold in 2022, finished with a score of 79.24 to end the day with a gold medal and the lead in the overall standings.
Lee Hae-in finished second ahead of the free skating in two days time, recording a score of 73.62.
Mai Mihara capped a great day for Japanese skating, taking home the short program bronze with a score of 73.46.
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