England suffered a shock 4-1 defeat by Japan in Bath in the first of a two-match series.
Nathan Robertson and Jenny Wallwork gave England the perfect start by taking the mixed doubles against Hirokatsu Hashimoto and Mizuki Fujii 21-13 21-11.
Robertson made his first international appearance at home since winning his 100th cap against the Japan team in that match in China.
However, Portsmouth’s Andrew Smith lost 19-21 21-14 21-12 to Kenichi Tago, then Jersey’s three-times national champion Elizabeth Cann was beaten 21-18 18-21 21-16 by Eriko Hirose.
Jessica Fletcher – called up at short notice for her senior England debut at the age of 17 when Donna Kellogg was forced to pull out through injury – and Jenny Wallwork went down 18-21 21-11 21-10 to Mami Naito and Shizuka Matsuo as Japan secured the winning lead.
In the final contest, Nottinghamshire pair Robertson and Anthony Clark went down 12-21 21-16 21-19 to Kenichi Hayakawa and Kenta Kazuno.
The second match takes place in Loughborough on Saturday evening.
England are playing their first internationals since pulling out of the World Championships in Hyderabad.