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SENDAI (Kyodo) The Miyagi Prefectural Government plans to offer a 70 percent discount to the owner of a new pro baseball team for use of Miyagi Prefectural Stadium, sources said Wednesday.

The annual fee will be reduced to about 50 million yen for Rakuten Inc., owner of the Sendai-based Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, which will join Japanese professional baseball next season.

The decision was made by Miyagi Gov. Shiro Asano, who hopes the move will help the Internet mall operator respond to local demands in running the team, according to the sources.

Asano was quoted as saying: “I made the decision (on the cut) after assessing (possible) contributions and effects that the professional baseball team franchise will have on the region.

“I think residents of the prefecture will show understanding of my decision.”

The local government signed an agreement Wednesday with Tokyo-based Rakuten to transfer management rights of the stadium in Sendai.

Similar situations include the city of Kobe, which lets the Orix BlueWave use its Yahoo BB Stadium for about 60 million yen per year, while the city of Hiroshima gives permission to the Hiroshima Carp to use Hiroshima Stadium for about 86 million yen annually.

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