The Yomiuri Shimbun September 22, 2013
Kato’s resignation must lead to NPB’s organizational reform
コミッショナー 辞任機にNPBの組織改革を(9月21日付・読売社説)

The resignation of Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner Ryozo Kato can be considered inevitable given his responsibility for causing turmoil and losing the trust of baseball fans over the unified ball introduced at his initiative.
 混乱を招き、野球ファンの信頼を失ったことを考えれば、辞任はやむを得ないだろう。

Kato’s announcement he would resign in the middle of his term came Thursday. As one reason for his departure, Kato said, “I caused trouble to fans and those concerned” for delaying the announcement that the unified ball’s coefficient of restitution—a fractional value representing the relative speed of an object after a collision divided by its relative speed before an impact—had been increased this season compared to the ball used in the previous season. He said he would leave his post in the latter half of October, before the Japan Series starts.
 プロ野球の加藤良三コミッショナーが任期途中での辞任を表明した。
 統一球の反発力が昨季より高まったにもかかわらず、公表が遅れ、「ファン、関係者にご迷惑をかけた」ことなどを理由に挙げた。日本シリーズ開幕前の10月後半に退任するという。

The pennant race is heading into its final stage. It is regrettable that Kato’s resignation is attracting public attention at a time when professional baseball is entering the season’s most exciting period.
 ペナントレースは大詰めを迎えている。プロ野球が最も盛り上がるこの時期に、日本野球機構(NPB)のトップであるコミッショナーの辞任に世間の耳目が集まるのは、残念な事態である。

After serving in such diplomatic posts as ambassador to the United States, Kato became NPB commissioner in July 2008. He was expected to utilize the international perspective he cultivated as a Foreign Ministry bureaucrat to develop pro baseball.
 駐米大使などを歴任した加藤氏は2008年7月、コミッショナーに就任した。外務官僚として培った国際感覚をプロ野球の発展に生かすことが期待された。

Kato strongly pushed for introduction of a unified ball for NPB. The World Baseball Classic and other international baseball championships use balls different from those in Japan.
 加藤氏が強く推し進めたのが、統一球の導入だった。ワールド・ベースボール・クラシック(WBC)など国際大会では、日本とは異なるボールが使用される。

The introduction of the unified ball, which has specifications close to those used overseas, was intended to enable Japan’s national team players to fully display their abilities in overseas games. The intention behind the move can be considered good.
 日本代表が海外の試合でも実力を存分に発揮できるよう、海外仕様に近いボールをプロ野球でも使うという意図自体は正しかったと言えるだろう。

However, the number of home runs dropped sharply in the 2011 season when the unified ball was introduced. Home runs are a major attraction of baseball, and some fans may have been deprived of their enjoyment.
 ただ、11年に統一球が導入されると、本塁打が激減した。本塁打は野球の華であり、興趣をそがれたファンもいたのではないか。

As a countermeasure, NPB adopted a unified ball with an increased coefficient of restitution this season. But NPB did not disclose the change and asked the manufacturer to keep it secret.
 対策として、NPBは今季から反発係数を上げたボールを使用したが、その事実を公表せず、メーカーにも口止めをしていた。

Faulty governance

Why did the change in the specifications of the ball have to be covered up? NPB’s intentions were highly questionable. The change in ball specifications is believed to have had a large impact on players’ batting and pitching techniques. It is no wonder that many players expressed distrust in NPB when the change came to light in June.
 なぜ、ボールの仕様変更を隠す必要があったのか、甚だ疑問である。ボールの変更は、選手の打撃や投球術に大きな影響を与える。6月に仕様変更が明らかになった際、多くの選手がNPBへの不信感を口にしたのも無理はない。

Kato said he was not informed of the change in the unified ball’s coefficient of restitution.
 加藤コミッショナーは、統一球の反発係数を変更した報告を受けていなかったという。

If that is the case, it means NPB has a major problem in its governance as an organization, with important information not reaching the top. This was underscored by the fact that NPB’s secretary general, who is supposed to support the commissioner, did not report the change to Kato.
 そうであるなら、重要情報がトップに伝わらないNPBの組織としてのガバナンス(統治機能)には、重大な欠陥がある。コミッショナーを補佐すべき事務局長が、情報を知りながら報告しなかったことが、それを物語っている。

A third-party committee established by NPB is scheduled to compile a report on the unified ball this month. Based on the report, NPB must carry out measures to prevent recurrence and promote organizational reform.
 NPBが設置した第三者委員会は、統一球問題の報告書を月内にまとめる予定だ。これを基に、NPBは再発防止と組織改革に取り組まねばならない。

Attention is now focused on who will succeed Kato. We urge the 12 baseball clubs to work together to select the next commissioner, who will assume a heavy responsibility for regaining confidence in NPB and developing professional baseball.
 今後は後任人事が焦点となる。12球団が協力し、NPBの信頼回復と球界発展の重責を担えるコミッショナーを選出してほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 21, 2013)
(2013年9月21日02時20分  読売新聞)