Players React After Japan's National Basketball League Takes Unilateral Action
On Sept. 16, after a pair of National Basketball League preseason games wrapped up, "four players came into the press room at Yoyogi National Gymnasium No. 2 in suits to announce something the nation's sport had never seen before," according to Kaz Nagatsuka of the JAPAN TIMES. They were there "to inform the media members that they had formed a players association." Toyota Motors Alvark Tokyo guard Yusuke Okada "proposed the idea and is the president of the group, which is officially called the Japan Basketball Players Association." The JBPA will start with Japanese players in the NBL, "which enters its inaugural season as it reconfigures from its predecessor, the Japan Basketball League." The '13-14 campaign of the new circuit tipped off Saturday. Okada said that the "majority of the Japanese players in the NBL agreed to join the JBPA and would do so beginning this season." Okada emphasized that the players did not establish the JBPA "in order to negotiate work circumstances including their salaries," therefore it is not a labor union. It "is registered as a general incorporated association, which legally has no rights to argue on labor disputes." Okada: "We thought we needed to change our ways of thinking. We players have to be involved in making Japan's basketball scene better" (JAPAN TIMES, 9/27).