JPBPA chairperson Takahiro Arai (HAN) and JPBPA vice chairperson Shunsuke Watanabe (LOT) visited Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara on Friday for the JPBPA's Baseball Christmas 2010 in Komazawa press conference.
While the gathering was supposed to be about the event, it seems Ishihara spent some time criticizing the international FA rule and some of the rules governing how much contact NPB players can have with amateur players.
Said Ishihara, "Yakyu is the most closed off sport. You need to what, wait 10 years* for free agency? And you can't play games against amateurs, there are like 4-5 of those kinds of things. ... Soccer has move more quickly. Players go from J2 to J1, from J1 to Europe, they move instantly. [Yakyu] doesn't have that kind of freedom. And it isn't like they'll use you in America because you're older. Tell them like it is, that Yakyu is behind the times. ... I feel sorry for the players. They have no freedom. They can only do what they are told. Inclusive of the free agency rules, it just doesn't compare to soccer."
* it's actually 8 years for domestic and 9 years for international. The JPBPA is currently trying to cut that down to 7 for both.