NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato is planning to resign. The NPB owners will be meeting today in Tokyo at 2:00pm. Kato is expected to announce his intentions during the session. In speaking to Sports Hochi, he admitted that questions about changes to the standard baseball influenced his decision.
"I feel it is my responsibility that it became such a big problem. Unlike other sports, I do not want to be put into a situation where I go on the offensive. I think it is in the best interest of the NPB for me to step down," Kato said.
However, stepping down was something Kato was already considering as far back as January because he wanted to make sure the transition to the next commissioner went smoothly. The issues with the standard baseball came to light in June.
"Regarding the standard baseball, I would like to say that as a human being, I would never lie about it or try to hide it. ... I started the project [with the standard baseball] because I wanted to see it used at international tournaments, like the Asia Series, the World Cup, and when it makes it back, the Olympics. But all that fell apart," Kato said.
He added, "I am not trying to avoid responsibility by announcing my retirement. I await [the reports] in good faith."
Kato is in the middle of his third term, which was set to end in June next year. He is hoping to step down some time between the end of the regular season and start of the Nippon Series. He will become the fourth commissioner to resign in the middle of a term.
UPDATE @ 4:10pm -
Kato announced his intention to resign during the owner meetings that took place earlier today in Tokyo.