The yawning gulf between Japan and the rest of Asia can only be bridged if the others are able to shed their 'amateur' status, according to Wayne Marsters, the head coach of a chastened Arabian Gulf. Japan romped to a massive 114-6 victory over the Gulf's part-time players in Osaka in the second round of the inaugural HSBC Asian Five Nations last weekend to highlight the difference between the haves and have-nots. The drubbing led to Marsters pointing ou the chasm between the region's champion side and the rest was getting bigger. 'Obviously the score illustrates the difference between true amateurs and the professional set-up in Japan, especially in a test series,' Marsters said yesterday. 'We can possibly compete in a one-off test, but it is difficult to keep our boys healthy and available to play over a five-week period due to work commitments.' While acknowledging that Japan - who have a number of full-time players from New Zealand eligible under the IRB's three-year residency rule - was a step above the rest of the field, Hong Kong Rugby Football Union's head of performance Ivan Torpey said he remained confident Hong Kong would perform when they came up against the Asian powerhouse on May 18. 'We too have raised the bar. While our players are part-time, our whole set-up is professional. Our coaches are professional and so is the entire support system provided to our elite squad of 38 players,' said Torpey. 'Having full-time professional players like Japan makes a big difference, but in our own way, we are trying to be competitive and hopefully we will perform well against Japan.' The Arabian Gulf, who lost to Hong Kong by a respectable 20-12 scoreline, were blown away by Japan - coached by ex-All Blacks winger John Kirwan - who ran in 18 tries in a devastating display of running rugby. 'It was a case of them playing very well and us playing poorly. Having said that, we would have struggled to stay competitive against them, but it wouldn't have been a 100-pointer,' Marsters said. Japan beat Korea 39-17 in their opening game in the elite five-team competition having led 29-0 at half-time. Kirwan, who is using this tournament to blood a number of young players in the run-up to the Pacific Nations Cup next month, rang the changes and brought in most of his World Cup players for the Gulf game. Marsters believed the Gulf should follow in the footsteps of Hong Kong and put in place a semi-professional system. 'To get to Japan's level, teams such as Hong Kong need to keep developing their representative and domestic programmes. The Gulf must also develop their programme to get to where Hong Kong is now. If players are in a position where they can commit the time to play and train then we can compete against sides like Japan,' added Marsters.