The sides were level after Saturday's opening matches, and still could not be parted after the two singles rubbers on Sunday as Ekateina Makarova beat Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-1 6-1 after Ayumi Morita had put Japan 2-0 up with a 6-4 6-1 win over Elena Vesnina.
But Makarova and Vesnina were more than a match for Morita and Misaki Doi in the doubles, roaring to a crushing 6-2 6-2 victory.
Russia will play Slovakia in April for a place in the semi-finals, with the Slovaks having beaten Serbia 3-1 thanks in large part to superb wins by Daniela Hantuchova over first Bojana Jovanovski and then Vesna Dolonic.
The Czech Republic also went through as they brushed Australia aside, with Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova clinching the match 3-0 after the third rubber before Lucie Hradecka and Andrea Hlavackova won the dead rubber doubles to make it a 4-0 rout.
The Czechs will face Italy in their semi-final after they defeated the USA in the deciding rubber on Sunday.
Russia 3-2 Japan
Ayumi Morita (Japan) beat Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) 6-2 6-2
Maria Kirilenko (Russia) beat Kimiko Date-Krumm (Japan) 7-6(3) 6-4(0)
Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina (Russia) beat Misaki Doi/Ayumi Morita (Japan) 6-2 6-2
Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) beat Kimiko Date-Krumm (Japan) 6-1 6-1
Ayumi Morita (Japan) beat Elena Vesnina (Russia) 6-4 6-1
Slovakia 3-1 Serbia
Vesna Dolonc (Serbia) beat Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia) 4-6 4-5 (Cibulkova retired) Ret.
Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia) beat Bojana Jovanovski (Serbia) 7-5 6-2
Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia) beat Vesna Dolonc (Serbia) 6-3 6-2
Jana Cepelova (Slovakia) beat Bojana Jovanovski (Serbia) 5-7 7-5 11-9
Czech Republic 4-0 Australia
Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) beat Samantha Stosur (Australia) 7-6(6) 7-6(4)
Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) beat Jarmila Gajdosova (Australia) 7-6(2) 6-3
Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka (Czech Republic) beat Ashleigh Barty/Casey Dellacqua (Australia) 6-0 7-6(1)
Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) beat Samantha Stosur (Australia) 2-6 7-6(3) 6-4
Italy 3-2 USA
Varvara Lepchenko (U.S.) beat Roberta Vinci (Italy) 2-6 6-4 7-5
Sara Errani (Italy) beat Jamie Hampton (U.S.) 6-2 6-1
Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci (Italy) beat Liezel Huber/Varvara Lepchenko (United States) 6-2 6-2
Roberta Vinci (Italy) beat Jamie Hampton (U.S.) 6-2 4-6 6-1
Varvara Lepchenko (U.S.) beat Sara Errani (Italy) 7-5 6-2