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Ex-NPB commissioner Yoshikuni dies

Kyodo

Former Japanese baseball commissioner Ichiro Yoshikuni died of pneumonia at his home in Tokyo on Friday, his family said. He was 95.

Yoshikuni, whose tenure lasted from 1989-1998, was the longest-serving commissioner in the history of Japanese baseball. The former top bureaucrat was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.

Yoshikuni helped introduce free agency to Japanese baseball, put in place after the 1993 season, while contributing to the promotion of exchanges between professional and amateur baseball.

His bureaucratic career included a stint as director-general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau in the 1970s.