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Nishimura & Asahi Announces Hironori Inagaki’s Landmark Certification by the Major League Baseball Players Association

In a groundbreaking development for the Japanese sports legal landscape, Tokyo partner Hironori Inagaki was certified as a General Certified Agent by the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) on March 11, 2024. With this certification, he is now able to negotiate player contracts and other rights-related matters between professional baseball players and teams within the MLB. 

Hironori spent many years building connections in the international sports industry and acquiring extensive knowledge with the goal of obtaining this qualification. With this experience and certification, Nishimura & Asahi’s sports practice team will be able to provide a more comprehensive level of advice and support not only to individual athletes but also to Japanese companies and sports-related organizations looking to expand overseas.

Hironori is a core member of the firm's sports practice. He also serves as the representative director of the Council for Sports Ecosystem Promotion, an industry organization aimed at industrializing sports through the use of DX. He is well-versed in the latest trends and challenges in the industry both domestically and internationally.

Comment from Hironori Inagaki: 
“In the absence of a robust support system consisting of lawyers and other professionals, some Japanese professional baseball players have been faced with challenges and vulnerabilities, including instances of fraud, when transitioning to the MLB. I am determined to create a comprehensive support system for Japanese athletes as they embark on international careers. I have spent eight years building connections and engaging in the sports industries between Japan and the US. Becoming an MLBPA certified agent was a critical step in my mission to advocate for and protect our players.”


稲垣 弘則

He understands and solves his client’s essential needs and challenges by leveraging his extensive domestic and international connections in the sports and entertainment field as well as his experience gained during secondment to the business side of a domestic sports management company.
He has assisted numerous companies in the area of Sports Digital Transformation (data business, sports betting, fantasy sports, NFT, sports tokens) and is experienced in cases involving a wide range of legal issues at the intersection of sports and technology. He is also the
Representative Director of the Council for Sports Ecosystem Promotion, an industry organization that aims to industrialize sports using digital transformation, etc., and is well versed in the latest trends and issues in the industry both domestically and internationally.