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[10/7/2015] Yomiuri Giants: Satoshi Fukuda caught betting on baseball

by on Oct.07, 2015 @ 8:44 pm, under NPB

Satoshi Fukuda was caught betting on baseball. The incident came to light on October 5.

The Incident

  • Shoki Kasahara introduced Fukuda to a third-party (a person working at a tax accountant corporation) last year.
  • The third-party invited Fukuda to place bets on the Spring Koshien this year, but he declined. He then accepted an invite to place bets on the Summer Koshien.
  • Bets were based on a win/loss point system. Each point was worth 10,000 yen. Fukuda started with bets on five to ten points. He started losing and tried to make up the difference, but failed.
  • The third-party then invited Fukuda to place bets on professional baseball as a way to make the money he lost. Beginning in early September, Fukuda placed bets on around ten NPB and ten MLB games. Three to four of the NPB games involved the Yomiuri Giants.
  • The third-party stressed it was all for fun and pushed Fukuda to place more bets. Money never changed hands because there was no real end.
  • In the end, Fukuda owed over one million yen.
  • Fukuda wanted to stop because he had a child coming. He stopped responding to the third-party. That is when the third-party started asking for the owed money.

The Yomiuri Giants

  • They held a press conference at Yomiuri headquarters in Otemachi, Tokyo on October 5 to inform the media that Satoshi Fukuda was caught betting on baseball.
  • They began conducting an internal investigation immediately after the facts came to light on September 30. They contacted the commissioner's office on October 1.
  • They are conducting an investigation on the third-party to see if he has ties to organized crime groups.
  • They are mainly focused on Fukuda and the third-party for the time being.
  • Both Fukuda and Kasahara have been suspended. They could be released, depending on what is uncovered during investigations.
  • According to a Tokyo Sports report posted on October 6, the organization received about fifty e-mails and roughtly eighty phone calls about the incident.
  • They are not planning to withdraw from the Climax Series at this point in time.
  • They held an emergency team meeting on October 6 at Tokyo Dome. Team owner Kojiro Shiraishi was also in attendance.
  • Shiraishi met chief adviser Tsuneo Watanabe in the morning and brought with him, to the emergency meeting, a message from Watanabe.
  • The message, paraphrased, was that the Yomiuri Giants were supposed to be gentlemen, both on and off the field.
  • Manager Tatsunori Hara held a second meeting on the field for coaches and players after the emergency meeting.
  • The organization is conducting an internal investigation that involves all coaches, staff, and players (over 100 people).
  • Team representative Atsushi Harasawa will begin meeting with Ni-gun players in Miyazaki on October 7.
  • They are looking for answers to three questions: have you ever been invited to place bets? have you ever placed a bet? do you have ties with someone that had an addiction to betting?
  • The organization has received many phone calls from upset fans. Some have suggested they should withdraw from the Climax Series.

Satoshi Fukuda

  • He was "outed" when the third party visited Giants Stadium on September 30 to collect owed money.
  • The organization immediately sat down with him to find out what happened. They checked his mobile phone and LINE messages to confirm facts and build a timeline.
  • He did not pitch in any Ichi-gun games this season, so he could not personally change outcomes of games. However, other players may have been involved.
  • The Giants are thinking about filing a report with the police, if they find anything in violation of the law.
  • There was information that he had a tendency to gamble (pachinko, mahjong, horse racing).
  • He has a wife, two daughters, and one son.
  • He may have been in debt for other reasons, up to several tens of millions of yen.

Shoki Kasahara

  • He briefly stopped by Giants Stadium on the morning of October 5.
  • He and the thirty-party reportedly knew each other because they played mahjong (with money involved).
  • He may have known about Fukuda placing bets on baseball.
  • He had been invited to place bets on baseball a number of times the past, but he declined.
  • It should be noted that his younger brother, Taiga Kasahara, is in the Softbank organization.

The Hanshin Tigers

  • The Hanshin Tigers are reviewing their policies.
  • They usually offer players and staff reminders about their privates lives twice a year.
  • Team official Eiichi Takano met players, coaches, and staff that were participating in working out at Koshien on October 6.
  • Team officials also met players working out in Miyazaki.
  • A full team meeting is scheduled to take place at Koshien on October 8.
  • His connections to the third-party could be seen in violation of the NPB charter, depending on the third-party's background.

Other NPB teams

  • The Swallows issued warnings to all their players on October 6.
  • The Bay Stars are requiring players, coaches, and staff (over 100 people in all) to answer questionnaires.
  • The Marines also issued warnings to players after they arrived at kobo Stadium on October 6.
  • The Hawks provided an explanation of the incident to Ni-gun and San-gun players and staff on October 6. They plan to talk to Ichi-gun players on October 8.
  • The Dragons passed out questionnaires and will talk to players individually.
  • The Fighters warned players during a meeting at Sapporo Dome. They are planning to pass out questionnaires and talk to players individually.

The NPB

  • The NPB has received about forty phone calls regarding the incident. Many are asking the league to handle investigations seriously. Many are also calling for heavy punishments.
  • The NPB has an investigation panel that is looking into the incident. Members are Motonari Otsuru (lawyer), Yoshitaka Kato (Yusei Audit & Company, Supervising Representative), and Shinya Miyamoto (former player). The first meeting took place on October 5.
  • The NPB could either issue a lifelong ban (article 177, placing bets on games where games can be fixed) or a one-year or indefinite suspension (article 180, placing bets on games where games can not be fixed). The punishment will depend on how involved the bets were and whether games were fixed.
  • NPB commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki wants to make sure they conduct a strict and wide investigation that will satisfy everyone. He expects investigations to last a month to a month-and-a-half.

The Government, the Olympics, and others

  • Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology Hakubun Shimomura
    • "This is something that should not have happened and is extremely regrettable. It will be important for the NPB and the Yomiuri Giants to strictly deal with what has happened."
    • "When something like this happens, it's likely it won't be considered [for the Sports Lottery]."
    • "This is a big deal. It's something that can't be imagined. This isn't just a problem for the Giants. I want [the NPB] to make sure this doesn't happen again."
  • Olympics Minister Toshiaki Endo: "What happened was very regrettable and reprehensible."
  • Olympics Emblem Committee Sadaharu Oh: "What happened is very regrettable. We have to use this as a wake-up call to be more careful. ... [The players] aren't children. They are not only professional baseball players, but also members of society. Professional baseball's control doesn't reach that far."
  • There is concern this latest develop could set things back for baseball's return to the Olympics.

Source: ZakZak 10/6/2015, Tokyo Sports 10/6/2015, Sanspo 10/7/2015Sanspo 10/7/2015, Sanspo 10/7/2015, Sanspo 10/7/2015, Sanspo 10/7/2015, Sanpo 10/7/2015, Sanspo 10/7/2015, Sanspo 10/6/2015, Sanspo 10/6/2015, Sanspo 10/6/2015, Sanspo 10/6/2015, Sanspo 10/6/2015, Sanspo 10/5/2015, Sanspo 10/5/2015, Sanspo 10/5/2015, Sanspo 10/5/2015, Sponichi 10/6/2015, Sponichi 10/6/2015, Sponichi 10/6/2015, Sponichi 10/6/2015, Sponichi 10/6/2015, Sponichi 10/6/2015, Sponichi 10/6/2015, Sponichi 10/6/2015, Sponichi 10/6/2015, Sponichi 10/6/2015, Sponichi 10/6/2015, Sponichi 10/5/2015, Sponichi 10/5/2015, Sponichi 10/5/2015, Sponichi 10/5/2015, Sponichi 10/5/2015, Daily Sports 10/6/2015, Daily Sports 10/6/2015, Daily Sports 10/6/2015, Daily Sports 10/6/2015, Daily Sports 10/6/2015, Daily Sports 10/6/2015, Daily Sports 10/6/2015, Daily Sports 10/6/2015, Daily Sports 10/6/2015, Daily Sports 10/5/2015, Daily Sports 10/5/2015, Daily Sports 10/5/2015, Nikkan Sports 10/6/2015, Nikkan Sports 10/6/2015, Nikkan Sports 10/6/2015, Nikkan Sports 10/6/2015, Nikkan Sports 10/6/2015, Nikkan Sports 10/6/2015, Nikkan Sports 10/6/2015, Nikkan Sports 10/5/2015