The Japan Professional Baseball Players Association held a player meeting in Osaka today and voted against participating at the next World Baseball Classic. All twenty-four player reps (two from each team) voted against playing at the WBC.
Said JPBPA chairman Takahiro Arai, "We approached the event organizers last year in July. The ball was in their court and they never responded. This was a very difficult decision."
Source: Daily Sports 7/20/2012
UPDATE @ 7:14pm -
NPB Commission Ryozo Kato - Winning two back-to-back championship, this is a big deal for a lot of fans. Considerations need to made with regards to not playing. We will continue talking to the JPBPA. It is not possible to convert what the WBC means into money.
Source: Nikkan Sports 7/20/2012
International Relations Committee Chairman Toshimasa Shimada (Nippon Ham) - In terms of understandomg the importance and significance of international tournaments, the NPB and the JPBPA are both on the same page. We understand what they are thinking. Perhaps we did not explain everything to them properly. We would like to meet with them as soon as possible. The WBC is also important in helping to bring value into the Samurai Japan project.
Source: Nikkan Sports 7/20/2012
UPDATE @ 11:30pm -
Q&A with Takahiro Arai, from today's press conference (from Nikkan Sports):
The reasons for the decision...
Japan should receive revenue from sponsorship deals and merchandising contracts, but we do not. That is pretty much.
What about the players that want to participate?
There were players that wanted to participate, but in the end, we were all in agreement.
The fans were hoping for a third championship.
The fans were looking forward to it, as were the players. But five, ten years down the road, when considering future generations, we had no choice but to make the difficult decision.
Is this a final decision?
That is what was decided. We presented our case a year ago and one year later, we have not received a reply. At this point, I can not see the organizers taking action and approaching us with something.
Would you re-consider the decision if you were approached?
I cannot provide a solid answer to a hypothetical situation right now. But the ball is in their court. It has been for the past year and they have not returned it to us, so we made the difficult decision.
Tetsuya Utsumi (Yomiuri) - If we give in and participate, they will not take us seriously when we sit down to negotiate for the next tournament. We need to take a stand.
Masahiro Tanaka (Rakuten) - We can not just look at the things right in front of. It just does not make sense in the long-term.
Kenta Maeda (Hiroshima) - I have never participated and I would like a chance.
Seiichi Uchikawa (Softbank) - The experience of representing Japan [at a tournament] is huge. I obviously would like to participate.
Shinya Miyamoto (Yakult) - It might be a little strange to say to do things like soccer, but the JPBPA is pushing for a real world tournament where a third party handles everything. I do not think this is a final decision.
Tatsunori Hara (Yomiuri manager) - If there is room for discussion, I would like to see both sides meet. I think both sides understand what the fans want. They should have a good discussion and workout a final decision.
According to the JPBPA, Japan pulled in about 70% of the sponsorship revenue. Japan is also responsible for paying a fairly large amount for broadcast rights. Despite that, Japan only received 13% of the revenue. The players also feel that the decision to play a portion of the second round of the 2013 WBC is all about the MLB wanting to make more money. Source: Sanspo 7/20/2012