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2014年1月 3日 (金)

コミッショナー NPBの体制強化を最優先に

The Yomiuri Shimbun January 2, 2014
New commissioner must place top priority on strengthening NPB
コミッショナー NPBの体制強化を最優先に(12月31日付・読売社説)

We hope the new commissioner of the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization will throw his energy into making Japan’s professional baseball even more loved.

Lawyer Katsuhiko Kumazaki, former chief of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigation squad, will become NPB’s new commissioner as of Wednesday.

“I want to make the most of my abilities to make Japanese pro baseball more vigorous so it can contribute to society,” Kumazaki said at a press conference.

Kumazaki has been in charge of compliance issues as an adviser to NPB’s commissioner since 2005. Expectations are high that he will exercise leadership to work out the problems that Japan’s professional baseball is currently saddled with by utilizing that experience.

What Kumazaki must work on first is to carry out reform in NPB after it lost the trust of baseball fans due to a problem concerning the introduction of unified ball.

Ryozo Kato, former NPB commissioner, said he did not know the unified ball’s coefficient of restitution had been increased. Reforming NPB, in which such important information does not reach the head of the organization, is an urgent task.

Kumazaki said he needs a full-time assistant who will meticulously keep watch on things in NPB. It is necessary to establish governance functions that enable the commissioner to make appropriate decisions.

A decisive moment

The status of professional baseball remains severe. Although the number of spectators increased this season both in the Central League and the Pacific League compared to last season, four teams saw their spectators decrease. The number of professional baseball games aired on terrestrial broadcasting also fell.

We urge the new commissioner to cooperate with the 12 teams and do his utmost to improve various services for baseball fans.

In particular, Kumazaki must devise a strategy to enhance the appeal of Japan’s national team—called Samurai Japan, which has been formed on a permanent basis—to help increase NPB’s earnings. His ability will be tested, for example, in setting up international games that will please baseball fans.

Meanwhile, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles have recently allowed ace Masahiro Tanaka to move to the major leagues.

A professional baseball player’s dream to take on the challenge of playing in the major leagues and make a leap forward deserves respect.

However, the fact is that Japan’s professional baseball will inevitably decline if star players continue to flow out to the major leagues.

The posting system used when a Japanese player moves to the major leagues has significantly changed. Under the revised system, a Japanese team that allows a player to go to the major leagues sets a posting fee of up to $20 million, or ¥2 billion.

The revision apparently reflects the major leagues’ wish to hold down the money the clubs pay to acquire Japanese players, which previously had no limit.

For baseball to further develop around the world, it is indispensable for the Japanese and U.S. professional baseball worlds, the two axes of the sport, to ensure coexistence and mutual prosperity.

Formulating fair rules between Japan and the United States on the acquisition of Japanese players is also an important task that the new commissioner must work on.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 31, 2013)
(2013年12月31日02時07分  読売新聞)


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