Statement of GS

Statement: Baseball Players Strike

17 September 2004
Tadayoshi Kusano
General Secretary
  1. The Japan Professional Baseball Players Association (JPFPA), a trade union, heartbreakingly elected to go on strike today after negotiations with team officials which were extended four hours but failed to draw an acceptable reply from the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

  2. During the meeting of the "Consultation and Negotiation Committee", players asked for: a) if a one-year freeze on the merger between the two teams would be impossible, the admission of a new team into the pro leagues next season which would maintain 6 teams in each of Central and Pacific Leagues; and b) releasing players from any restriction so that they would be freely traded to teams of their choice at the merger.

  3. On the other hand, the NPB insisted that: a) a freeze was impossible; and b) there should be six teams in the Central League and five in the Pacific because 2006 would be the earliest a new team could enter professional baseball, mainly due to time restrictions. The NPB stated at a press conference after the negotiations that a merger of teams or the admission of a new team were management issues and therefore were not subject to collective bargaining.

  4. The JPFPA has been sincerely engaged in negotiations and called for a NPB’s sincere reply, insisting that the merger, in spite of being a management issue, is close to and inseparable from employment and working conditions. Such negotiations should be interpreted as legitimate, as already recognised by Tokyo District and High Courts. RENGO will continue to support the Players Association, including its decision on strike, and ask the NPB for further efforts towards an early settlement.