latest japanese sports news.

Empty Stadium at Tokyo Olympic?

Affected by the new Coronavirus, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games may head in the direction of forsaking the acceptance of spectators from overseas. While the number of mutant species was increasing, many people were worried about the event, and there was a fear that opposition to the event would intensify if it were not decided as soon as possible whether to accept overseas customers. This discussion began as early as January and the final decision to decide whether to accept overseas guests will be decided by. It was also confirmed that the decision to limit the number of spectators will be made in April as the next step. The standards are following the government’s upper limit on sporting events. Even in the pandemic, many competitions such as professional baseball and J-League have been held with spectators in Japan. The government’s ruling party also wanted to use the Olympics as an opportunity to revive inbound tourism after Corona ended. However, due to the increasing number of mutant species, it was widely believed that it would be difficult to accept foreign guests even within the Prime Minister’s Office.

Junichi Tazawa began his new season at a place he’s not familiar with.

On 2/25 in Taiwan, Junichi stepped to the mound for the first time as a member of Wei Chuan Dragons which is part of the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan. It was the first preseason game and he pitched at the top of the 5th inning with no score on the board. After giving up a double to the first hitter, he finished the day with 1K 1H of a scoreless inning. The last time Junichi pitched in Major League was back in the 2018 season as the Angels. After spending in minor leagues from the 2019-2020 season, he returned to Japan, but he had to enter the draft under NPB’s rule where he surprisingly did not get his name called. After spending the rest of the year in the Japanese amateur league, he signed a 1-year contract with the Wei Chuan Dragons. Junichi commented “It will be a challenge to take on a new stage, but I will not forget the feeling of gratitude to the team that prepared for further growth and gave me a place to play baseball, and I will throw my best to win” about joining the team.

Kosuke Fukudome appealing his way up to the big club in Spring Training

Kosuke who returned to Chunichi Dragons for the first time in 14 years recorded 2 AB, 2 Hit, 2 Run as starting DH during the game on 22nd against the DeNA. He is currently the oldest player in NPB and starting the camp in the farm system this spring training. After playing for the Cubs, Indians, White Sox, and Yankees (Farm) from 2008-2012 season, he returned to NPB in 2013 season signing with the Hanshin Tigers. Last season due to being out of starting line-up he recorded a career low 78 AB along with .134 BA. During the offseason, he signed a one-year contract with the Dragons where he began his career. He commented after the game “It’s important how much to prepare until the time you’re at Bat. I think being able to hit the 1st ball is a good result in the sense that I am conscious of preparation”.  

7 time Olympian Seiko Hashimoto to replace as New Chairman for Tokyo Olympic Committee

After President Mori announced his resignation on the 12th to take responsibility for this own remarks the could be regarded as disrespectful to women, the Organizing Committee of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games has elected Ms. Seiko Hashimoto unanimously to replace Mr. Mori. During the press conference, new Chairman Hashimoto said, “The most important issue of the Tokyo Games that will be approaching in 5 months is the corona countermeasures, and I would like to establish a system that can be said to be a safe and secure tournament in cooperation with the sports world and the country.” Ms. Hashimoto was an Olympian herself winning a bronze medal for speedskating in the 1992 winter Olympics and has also entered in summer Olympics in cycling to become the first athlete from Japan to enter both summer and winter Olympics. After retiring from sports, she was elected to high positions in many sports associations in Japan.

The final qualifying round for Olympic Boxing is now canceled putting the Japanese team in a severe situation

On 2/15, it was announced that the final qualifying round for the Tokyo Olympics boxing is expected to be canceled due to the effects of the new coronavirus.   From Japan, 5 boxers were scheduled for the final qualifying, but the possibility of competing at the Olympics became severe. A total of 53 men and women who were scheduled to be decided in the final qualifying round will be determined by the results of the international tournament from 2017. As the Japanese team has a poor track record from 2017 tournament, and it now seems hopeless to participate in the final rounds.

Olympic President Mori is set to resign, JFA’s Kawabuchi is to replace.

The President of the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee Yoshiro Mori showed his intention to resign after receiving heavy criticism from the public for his unfavorable comment against women.  Currently, the committee is arranging JFA’s (Japan Football Association) special advisor Saburo Kawabuchi to become the replacement. Kawabuchi has a strong reputation as an ultimate organizer in Sports world as he was the J-League’s first Chairperson, and also served as Chairperson for JFA as well. In 2015 when Japan’s Basketball league was denied to enter FIBA as Japan was split into 2 major Basketball leagues, Kawabuchi was hired to resolve the problem, and in less than a year, the 2 leagues became a single organization called Japan professional Basketball League also known as B League. He later became the chairperson for JBA (Japan Basketball Association) but resigned and became a special advisor for the association.

Keisuke Honda looking for a new team

It was first reported on Feb 5th that Keisuke Honda parted away with former Brazilian Club Botafogo to join Portuguese first-division side Portimonense until the end of the season. However, even after having a press conference and showing off his new team uniform, Keisuke tweeted on the 10th that he was told the registration was too late therefore he did not make the team. He later told a story through his voice steaming app “NowVoice” that he had a meeting with CEO and GM of Portimonense and was told everything that was reported was true. When 34-year-old midfielder was asked “Where to next?”, he responded “I would like to prioritize staying in Europe for now” but he is also eyeing Croatia, Ukraine league, and MLS as well.   

NPB will NOT ALLOW FANS during February

An extraordinary 12-team representatives’ meeting was held on the 8th and the league has decided to switch all 10 preseason games that were supposed to be played in Okinawa this month to practice games without any fans in the stand. For the games in March, the league will allow up to 5,000 spectators for the preseason games until the state of emergency is lifted. League will also move all the evening games to day time as the government is asking all civilians no to leave the house during night time unless it’s necessary.

Yoshihisa Hirano heading back to Japan

Yoshihisa Hirano who spent last season with the Seattle Mariners became FA this offseason made his return with his old team in NPB the Orix Buffalos.  Due to testing positive of Covid last season, Yoshihisa made his debut with the Mariners in late August and recorded 0-1, 4 saves, ERA of 5.84 in 13 games he pitched in. He will return to the Orix where he played the first 11 seasons of his career before signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2018 season.

pesident of Japan’s Olympic committee will not resign

The President of the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee Yoshiro Mori has been recently criticized for his unfavorable comment against women but indicated in his recent press conference that he will not resign despite being heavily criticized by the public. Although he made his apology during the recent press conference, people did not feel like the apology was sincere enough and was forceful.