It was a largely cagey affair in South Korea as Alberto Zaccheroni's men backed up from their win over Argentina.
In a match that neither side particularly dominated, Keisuke Honda came closest for the visitors while Park Chu-Young missed an excellent late chance for the home side.
Cho Kwang-Rae's men found it difficult to break down Japan, particularly with their talisman and captain Park Ji-Sung on the bench with a knee complaint.
Japan manager Alberto Zaccheroni presided over his team for only the second time after he marked his managerial debut with the Blue Samurai with an impressive 1-0 win over Argentina recently.
The former AC Milan manager had to deal with injuries to key defenders in the build-up to the match and lost another in the first half, Yuichi Komano forced off after a head-clash with Lee Chung-Yong.
In truth it was arguably one of the highlights of an incredibly dour first half of football, though the effervescent Honda had the first attempt of the match with a swerving half-volley that Jung Sung-Ryong had to tip away from the top corner of the net.
South Korea's only immediate response was an effort dragged wide by Choi Sung-Kuk after a quickly taken set-piece as they struggled aggainst a makeshift Japanese back four, before Shin Hyung-Min missed a glorious chance.
The Pohang Steelers man sent a looping header over the crossbar when he perhaps should have scored, stand-in Japan goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa half-committed and off his line.
Honda finished the half with another swerving effort from outside the area though this time well wide.
South Korea emerged with more energy after the restart as the match ebbed and flowed nicely for the next 45 minutes, despite a lack of clear-cut chances.
Cho's men had the first chance to break the deadlock when Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng's free-kick was only propped up by Nishikawa, Park Chu-Young heading weakly towards goal, the 'keeper spilling the effort before the ball was hacked clear.
AS Monaco striker Park then fired off another effort after turning his man sharply in midfield, drawing a smart save from Nishikawa, before the Japanese players furiously called for what seemed a legitimate penalty against Choi Hyo-Jin as the match drew to a close.
Ki then broke positively from midfield but pulled his effort wide before Honda stole the ball up the other end from Yeom Ki-Hun before rolling it into the path of Makoto Hasebe after cutting into the penalty area, the Japan captain only able to scoop his effort over the crossbar.
South Korea's best chance of the match fell to Park at the death as he climbed superbly to meet Yeom's cross, only able to direct a powerful header straight at Nishikawa, before Honda wasted an equally good chance with two minutes of normal time remaining.
The CSKA Moscow man again won the ball for his side before breaking into the Korean half, only to ignore the options on either side of him, curling an effort much to close to Jung.
It was the last real action of a clash that serves to emphasize just how evenly-matched these two Asian powerhouses are as they both look to challenge for the Asian Cup in January.