An internal feud in the Yomiuri Giants baseball club is entering the next inning and will be played out in a court of law.
On Nov. 26, Giants chairman Tsuneo Watanabe, 85, who is also chairman and editor in chief of The Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings, said he would sue Hidetoshi Kiyotake for defamation of character.
Watanabe made the comments in an exclusive interview with The Asahi Shimbun on Nov. 26.
Kiyotake, 61, was fired as team representative and general manager last week after he held a news conference and criticized Watanabe for interfering in the selection of coaches for the Giants for next season.
At a Nov. 25 news conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, Kiyotake said he would take legal action in December in connection with this feud.
Watanabe said in the Asahi interview that Kiyotake's news conference on Nov. 11 in which he criticized Watanabe was the reason former Giants player Suguru Egawa could not be hired as a Giants' coach for next season.
"He leaked confidential internal information and damaged company operations," Watanabe said.
Pointing to the fact that such actions constituted a violation of the loyalty obligation expected of a board director as well as an illegal act, Watanabe indicated the company would file a lawsuit in the near future seeking compensation.
Watanabe was asked about the Oct. 20 meeting with Kiyotake and then Yomiuri Giants owner Tsunekazu Momoi in which a report was made by the two about the coaching staff for next season.
"While I did receive that report, there was only a brief exchange about the personnel matters so I did not give my approval," Watanabe said.
Kiyotake criticized Watanabe for overturning the initial plans for next season's coaching staff.
However, Watanabe said, "There were no problems from a procedural standpoint because my preliminary approval as chairman of The Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings is required for major personnel decisions related to the Giants under the articles of incorporation."
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