NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato held a press conference after Thursday's owner meeting. Nikkan Sports has posted a portion of the press conference.
What was the biggest reason for your decision to retire?
The distractions the standard baseball caused. That was a really large part of it. The 2020 Olympics will take place in Tokyo. This is a time for sports to move forward. I think it would be best for baseball to get a fresh start as soon as possible.
Do you still feel the problem with the standard baseball is not a scandal?
The facts that I have mentioned have not changed. I did say that a big mistake was made. I thought I made that part clear too.
I told the third party panel everything I know about the situation. I feel the report will reflect that when it comes out.
Do you feel responsible for what happened with the standard baseball?
I think it is extremely regrettable that things with the standard baseball turned out the way they did. I apologize for that.
Source: Nikkan Sports 9/20/2013
Responses from players and team owners:
Motohiro Shima (chairman, Japan Professional Baseball Players Association) -- What happens now, whether things get better or worse, will depend on the next comissioner. I would like select someone that points us in the right direction. It would be nice if the players association and the NPB could work together to help bring positives to baseball.
Takahiro Arai (former chairman, JPBPA) -- I wonder why he has decided to retire now, when we are nearing the end of the pennant races and entering the most exciting part of the season. Why now? As was mentioned in the players association request, I hope [the next commissioner] is someone with strong leadership abilities.
Shinya Miyamoto (former chairman, JPBPA) -- I wonder why he picked this time. I think he could have [resigned] when everything was done. I do not really understand it.
Kojiro Shiraishi (owner, Yomiuri Giants) -- It is unfortunate [how things turn out], but he wanted some closure so it cannot be helped. He did his job as a mediator with the MLB and he worked hard to promote various things, including the World Baseball Classic. He also helped expand the system that allows former NPB players to coach baseball at academic institutions.
Takashi Goto (owner, Seibu Lions) -- I will support anyone that is willing to work hard to help promote baseball. How they are selected will be discussed. The sooner the better, but no sense in rushing. We will try to speed things along during discussions.
Akio Shigemitsu (acting owner, Chiba Lotte Marines) -- The decision was made with the idea that a new commissioner would take over next year. The new commissioner should be someone that has a business background. There were some that wanted to try and keep [Kato] on, but everyone ultimately felt it best to start fresh with a new person.
Toshimasa Shimada (team rep, Nippon Ham Fighters) -- Nippon Ham feels a full-time commissioner would be good. Even if it is two or three times a week, full-time would be better. If they cannot come every day, then it would be best to have an assistant.
Makoto Haruta (owner, Yokohama Bay Stars) -- If we consider the distraction we caused to fans, baseball, and to the world, then we should find someone that is willing to pull chestnuts out of a fire. I cannot think of many names. The question will be what kind of organization we want to build.
Yoshihiko Miyauchi (owner, Orix Buffaloes and owner chairman) -- October 25 is a deadline. It is not an option between full-time or part-time. If necessary, we can include an executive director. It is important to keep things flexible.
Koichiro Takada (director, Softbank Hawks) -- We do not want any information to leak out and we also need to figure out how to decide on the selection process as soon as possible. I have no comment [with regards to Sadaharu Oh].
Tsuyoshi Kinugasa (acting owner, Yakult Swallows) -- We did talk about selecting a temporary replacement if we can not decide on a new [commissioner]. The CL feels the commissioner should be someone that can be an arbitrator. And while this does not go for every PL team, they wanted someone that had a wide range of business experience.