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Former Kintetsu Buffaloes scout Yasushi Yamamoto has been named the Seattle Mariners’ first full-time Japan scout, Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi announced Wednesday.

“Yamamoto is one of the first scouts from Japan to be hired by a major league team to work full time in Japan,” Bavasi said in a statement released by the club.

“This hiring reflects the interest the Mariners have in the great talent pool in Japan and the rest of the worldwide market, as well as the interest the Mariners generate in Japan.”

Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, who has been an All-Star in each of his four seasons with the Mariners, broke the single-season hits record this past season with 262.

Yamamoto, who starts his new job Jan. 1, will scout both pros and amateurs in Japan.

He has experience as a baseball manager, guiding among other teams Osaka’s PL Gakuen High School and Hosei University before joining the Buffaloes’ scouting staff.

“I am very honored to work for the Seattle Mariners as a scout,” Yamamoto was quoted as saying on the Mariners’ official Web site.

“This is a great opportunity for me to be a good ambassador between Japan and Major League Baseball.”

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