Former Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner Yasuchika Negoro, who took the post after retiring as head of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors’ Office, died of lung cancer at a Tokyo hospital Monday, the Justice Ministry said. He was 81.
Negoro assumed the commissionership, the highest office in Japan’s pro baseball governing body, in February 2004, implementing a drastic revision to the pro baseball community’s 1951 agreement laying down procedures that baseball clubs must follow in hiring players.
A former chairman of the Japan Fair Trade Commission, Negoro is also known for instituting an organizational change to the Nippon Professional Baseball, including the enhanced decision-making power of the commissioner.
Although he finished his three-year tenure as commissioner in January 2007, he served as acting commissioner after the baseball governing body had difficulty picking his successor, Ryozo Kato.
A Wakayama Prefecture native, Negoro graduated from Kyoto University’s Law Faculty in 1956, being appointed a public prosecutor in 1958.
He was appointed to spearhead the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors’ Office in 1993 after serving as prosecutors at the Sapporo and Kobe District Public Prosecutors’ Offices and then as a vice justice minister.