Japanese foreign minister meets young baseball players from Philippines and Vietnam, hopes baseball can aid international exchange

by Jumpei Fujimura, Staff Writer

Ten young baseball players from the Philippines and Vietnam met with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo on October 6. Koji Yamamoto, former manager of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, the professional baseball team based in Hiroshima, was also present as deputy director of the Golden Players Club, the Japanese baseball hall of fame, which offered them a baseball training session in Tokyo on the previous day. Mr. Kishida and Mr. Yamamoto wished them success in the future and encouraged them to continue engaging in international exchange.

Mr. Kishida said to the ten players in baseball uniforms, “I hope you will promote baseball and participate in more and more international tournaments.” Mr. Yamamoto said, “I heard there were promising players who took part in the baseball training session.”

Pascual Luis, 16, from Manila, the Philippines, commented that the eight-day stay, including the cultural experiences and meals, will be a wonderful memory, adding that he hopes to come back to Japan.

Fifty young people from these two countries, including the 10 baseball players, were invited to Japan as part of a youth exchange program, mainly involving Asian nations, that is sponsored by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

(Originally published on October 7, 2014)