Japan Hosts Little League Asia-Pacific Region Meeting, Will Host Regional Tournament
At the ASPAC tournament, teams will be housed in the Global Arena in nearby Fukuoka, a state-of-the-art facility that hosts numerous sporting events each year. It will be the first time the tournament has been held in Japan in 15 years.
Representing Little League International at the meeting was Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball. It was the first Asia-Pacific Region meeting attended by Mr. Keener since the region came under the leadership of Regional Director B.H. Chow of Hong Kong.
“Our Japanese hosts are very much looking forward to welcoming teams from throughout the Asia-Pacific Region in July,” Mr. Keener said. “It was a very productive meeting, and I know those in attendance were grateful for the hospitality shown to them. It was an important meeting because of the number of leagues and teams Little League has in the Asia-Pacific Region, and the fact that they are so widely dispersed. Mr. Chow is doing an excellent job in his new leadership position.”
At a news conference to announce the tournament was Kazuhisa Inao, one of the greatest pitchers in Japanese Baseball history. Over 14 seasons with the Seibu Lions, Mr. Inao had a lifetime record of 276-137, and he owns the single-season record for wins by a Japanese pitcher with 42, set in 1961. Mr. Inao is chairman of the Japan Kyushu Federative Little League Baseball Association.
Also attending the news conference was Koichi Sueyoshi, mayor of Kitakyushu, and Hidetaka Komada, superintendent of the Kitakyushu Board of Education.
The Asia-Pacific Region of Little League has more than 370 local Little League programs in 15 countries. As much as 5,000 miles separate some leagues within the region.
In the Little League Baseball Division, one team from Asia and one from Pacific advances to the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport.
Meeting attendees posed for a photograph at the site of the 2005 Little League Baseball Asia-Pacific Region Tournament in Kitakyushu, Japan. Front row (left to right): Yoshiyuki Hasegawa, manager of The Sankei Sports News; Ike Aquiningoc, president of Tinian Little League, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI); Francisco Aguon, assistant district administrator, Guam; Young-Sun Lee, district administrator, Korea; Kenji Kimura, district administrator, Japan; Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer, Little League Baseball and Softball, Williamsport, Pa.; Yukio Matsuda, president of Japan Little League; B.H. Chow, director, Little League Asia-Pacific Region; Simon Li, director, Hong Kong; Robert Hull, district administrator, Thailand; James Ada, district administrator, CNMI; Winson Chan, president, Hong Kong Little League; Stephen Guerrero, Little League official, Guam; Mr. Watanabe (first name not available), interpreter, Japan. Back row, (left to right): Yoshinori Shikata, secretary general of Kyusyu District, Japan; Syoji Ono, president of Kyusyu District, Japan; Kiyoshi Katoh, district administrator, Indonesia; Yoshihisa Suetsugu, vice president of Kyusyu District, Japan; Chris Day, manager of international divisions, Chinese Taipei Baseball Association (CTBA), Chinese Taipei; Richard Lin, secretary general, CTBA, Chinese Taipei; Jolly Gomez, assistant district administrator, Philippines; Katsuzo Suwashita, assistant secretary of Kyusyu District, Japan.
The weekend’s events included a news conference. Pictured above are (left to right): Yukio Matsuda, president of Japan Little League; Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer, Little League Baseball and Softball, Williamsport, Pa.; and B.H. Chow, director, Little League Asia-Pacific Region.