This study investigated whether strict control of plasma glucose levels with mealtime dosing of a rapid-acting insulin analog improves early morning fasting plasma glucose (FPG) levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. A rapid-acting insulin analog was administered at each mealtime to 40 Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes whose existing antidiabetic medication was discontinued. Approximately one-half (52.5%) of the patients achieved a minimum early morning FPG levels achievable (nadir FPG) of <120mg/dL with mealtime dosing of a rapid-acting insulin analog alone; no basal insulin replacement was needed in these patients. Nadir FPG levels were independent of duration of diabetes, baseline body mass index (BMI) or glycemic control. All patients who had been treated with sulfonylureas needed basal insulin replacement. Low responses of insulin to glucagon and to arginine, and high response of glucagon to arginine may explain the failure to improve FPG levels with postprandial insulin replacement alone. In conclusion, approximately one-half of the patients with type 2 diabetes achieved appropriate control of FPG by rapid-acting insulin analog monotherapy. Basal insulin secretory defects in type 2 diabetes may be estimated by the responses of insulin to glucagon and to arginine and the response of glucagon to arginine. This study contributes to a better understanding of the pathophysiology contributing to the heterogeneity in the characteristics of insulin secretion in type 2 diabetes.