News Program are Not Enough: Yuki Saito’s Ambitious Plan to Join Member of the Diet Unveiled to Close Associates | FRIDAY DIGITAL

News Program are Not Enough: Yuki Saito’s Ambitious Plan to Join Member of the Diet Unveiled to Close Associates

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Yuki Saito (35), who finished his active career in 2021 after playing as a pitcher for Nippon Ham for 10 years, has been appearing regularly as an anchor on the news program “news every.” (Nippon Television Network Corporation) since this spring.

He is also active as an entrepreneur, having produced a handkerchief store in the past. His annual income is rumored to exceed that of his active career.

Saito appears every Monday and Tuesday. His sweet mask and refreshing character that dominated as the prince of handkerchiefs in his high school days are still there. He still has many female fans. Former badminton Olympian Kimiko Jinnai (60) has been the anchor of the program for many years, so Nippon TV has the know-how to nurture MCs and anchors who come from athlete backgrounds and create an environment where they can easily fit in.

Other stations also use former athletes as sportscasters, but this program is the only one that has them regularly appear on news programs. Saito, who is well-liked by housewives, was appointed to fill the gap at the time when announcer Takahiko Fujii (52), who had been the main character, was leaving the role.

Prince Handkerchief, who shined during his Waseda University days, only won 15 games in professional baseball. For this reason, he was busy preparing for his debut as a caster, including undergoing announcing training early in the new year. 

Saito has a strong desire to succeed in his second career, said a source close to the baseball world.

Speaking of Saito, there are still stories about him in a TV interview during his rookie year, such as Driving a Cayenne (a luxury foreign car) and It’s dangerous to buy land in Aoyama (Tokyo). He made many statements such as What’s that? and Let’s make it big! There was a time when he said to those around him, If I couldn’t make it as a professional, I’d like to become an announcer at a TV station. He made that dream come true. That’s why it’s nothing short of amazing.

However, Saito’s dream is not limited to being a TV caster. He is even hinting at his plans to become a member of the Diet. He is from Gunma, but every time he returns home, he sees his hometown becoming depopulated. He is also concerned that baseball’s population continues to decline. Normally, Saito would think about his contributions as a former professional baseball coach, but in Saito’s case, he is thinking about reform from a more macro perspective as a member of the Diet. He is literally a big man in terms of ideas and aspirations.

Former professional tennis player Shuzo Matsuoka (56) is a former athlete and TV personality active in a wide range of genres, including sports, information, and variety. We can only hope that Saito will realize his next dream.

  • PHOTO Kyodo News

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