When Microsoft announced a November launch date for the Xbox One back at E3, the company pointedly did not include Japan in a list of 21 countries where the system would first be available. Now, a Microsoft employee has used an interview to confirm that the system will not be released in Japan until the "second wave" of releases, sometime after 2013.

In an interview with Japan's 4Gamer (translated by DualShockers) that followed a financial announcement, Microsoft Japan President Yasuyuki Higuchi confirmed that Japan is a "Tier 2 country" for the Xbox One launch and that the system will be "delayed a little bit [compared to North America]." Later in the interview, Higuchi confirmed that the system will not hit Japan in 2013, and he clarified that the system's Japanese launch "wont be delayed too much from the North American release," suggesting an early 2014 release in the country.

The news isn't exactly surprising, considering that the Xbox 360 is practically a non-entity in the Japanese market, being outsold many times over by the Wii and PS3. The original Xbox received a similarly lukewarm reception in Japan, thanks in part to the console's large physical footprint and controller, according to some reports. Japan is no longer at the leading edge of every console launch either; the country got the original Wii two weeks after the North American launch and had to wait 3 weeks after America to get the Wii U and the Xbox 360.

Still, the delayed launch isn't a very strong sign for what outgoing Xbox President Don Mattrick called Microsoft's commitment to an "important market." That statement echoes similar comments from Microsoft's Phil Spencer, who said back in 2008 that the company "remain[s] committed to the strategy for success in Japan." And look how well that worked out.

Microsoft previously announced that other Asian countries, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and India, won't get the Xbox One until "late 2014." Today's indication that Japan's launch "won't be delayed too much" suggests that the country will get the system well ahead of the mainland continent, so Japanese gamers can consider that a bit of a silver lining.