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Japan, major league officials remain stumped in WBC talks

by Jim Allen (Aug 10, 2011)

With 19 months to go to the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Nippon Professional Baseball officials and representatives of Major League Baseball and its union met Tuesday hoping to resolve an impasse that might keep Japan out of the tournament.

Paul Archey, MLB senior vice president for international business, called the 3-1/2-hour discussion "productive," although nothing appeared to be resolved.

In July, both NPB and its players union expressed dissatisfaction with the way the tournament handles sponsors revenues. The players said they would not participate in 2013 if changes were not made.

"Both sides put lots of things on the table," Archey said. "I'm not going to get into details now.

"I would characterize them as very productive discussions, hearing their points of view and them hearing ours."

Archey would not comment on whether a deadline for Japan to commit to the tournament was set.

Toshimasa Shimada, a top executive of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters said the pace of the meetings was slow because of the need for an interpreter and the sheer number of participants, with representatives from nine NPB teams attending.

"We really never got beyond a general conversation about different things," Shimada said. "It's very difficult with so many participants to discuss and negotiate concrete matters.

"They explained various things, and we asked various questions. This is something that is going to continue for a while."

He said every facet of the tournament's business side was brought up, with the topic of money taking up just a small percentage of the total discussion.

"It wasn't just about money or distribution," he said.

Japan's players union had said each participating nation should own the rights to sponsorship revenue generated in its own country.

According to Shu Ito, NPB's consultant for union affairs, the MLB side said the tournament was still growing and that many participating nations could not generate sponsorship revenue.

"The quality of their logic was first class," Ito said. "They explained how well Japan had been paid in the previous two tournament and they wanted us to appreciate that fact."

Both NPB and the union have said that MLB and its players received 66 percent of the revenue from the 2009 tournament compared to 15 percent for the Japan side.

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Noshiro posts 1st Koshien win

The Daily Yomiuri

Kenya Hirakawa singled in the go-ahead run in a four-run sixth inning as Akita's Noshiro Shogyo beat Kagoshima's Kamimura Gakuen 5-3 Tuesday in the first round of the national high school championship for its first-ever win at Koshien.

Noshiro became the first Akita school to win at Koshien in 14 years, while also avenging a 15-0 loss last year to another Kagoshima school, Kagoshima Jitsugyo.


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