Japan FTC Ends Probe over NPB’s Problematic Rule

Sports Society Politics

Tokyo, Nov. 5 (Jiji Press)--Japan’s Fair Trade Commission said Thursday that it has terminated its probe into the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization, or NPB, over a suspected violation of the antimonopoly law.

The FTC responded to a report from the NPB that it scrapped its controversial “Tazawa rule,” which banned its member teams from concluding contracts for a while with players who skipped rookie drafts and contracted with foreign professional teams.

The antitrust watchdog concluded the probe without recognizing any law violation by the professional baseball governing body.

According to the FTC, the NPB’s 12 teams agreed on the rule, designed to prevent promising players from playing abroad, in October 2008.

Under the rule, players who started their professional career at foreign teams after graduating from universities or playing for teams sponsored by companies or other organizations were barred from contracts for two years from when they left the foreign teams. For high school graduates, the term was set at three years.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press