Shohei Ohtani’s Decision to Withhold Coordinated Testimony of Ippei Mizuhara During the Press Conference | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Shohei Ohtani’s Decision to Withhold Coordinated Testimony of Ippei Mizuhara During the Press Conference

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Shohei Ohtani, who showed a divine response in the press conference towards suspect Ippei Mizuhara, who is a former interpreter.

The scene of the final conversation between Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani and former exclusive interpreter, suspect Ippei Mizuhara, has come to light, revealing Ohtani’s divine response and sparking discussion.

According to the “New York Times,” after the MLB opening game against the San Diego Padres held in Seoul, South Korea, on March 20th, Mizuhara confessed in the clubhouse to the manager and players, saying, 

“I have a gambling addiction and am burdened with a huge debt.” 

He explained to Ohtani that he had taken on approximately $4.5 million (approximately 680 million yen) in debt.

Feeling uncomfortable, Ohtani later met with Mizuhara in a conference room in the hotel basement. Mizuhara reportedly begged Ohtani to adopt the same story he had told his teammates and the media.

Ohtani firmly rejected this request. According to the same newspaper, 

“Ohtani refused the offer and immediately called Nes Balero, his agent. Lawyers, crisis management personnel, and a trusted new interpreter, along with Mizuhara’s wife, quickly arrived.”

Ohtani challenged Major League Baseball from the Japanese baseball world in 2018, stepping into a world of entirely different languages and cultures. The advice he received repeatedly from those around him was,

“Call your agent immediately if something happens.”

That’s what he meant.

“Even though Mizuhara is proficient in language, the U.S. has a more robust culture of agents than Japan. Therefore, Ohtani’s response this time deserves a perfect score of 100 points. Mizuhara must have hoped to cling to Ohtani in the end, but that plan crumbled to pieces,” according to local sources.

Initially, when this issue came to light, Mizuhara responded to an interview by ESPN, claiming Ohtani’s “taking over” as he did to his teammates. Although this was quickly retracted, it was treated as an established fact for a while because there were misunderstandings about Ohtani’s private life.

“Doesn’t seem to care much about money”

“Seems like a nice person who might take responsibility”

“Doesn’t seem to understand the law”

The initial voices on the internet during the early reports shouldn’t have been too far from the public perception. However, Ohtani, without falling into Mizuhara’s collusion, immediately called his agent and dealt with the situation firmly.

What’s even more impressive about Ohtani is that when he first addressed the controversy on April 26th, he didn’t go into detail about these behind-the-scenes events.

Regarding Mizuhara, Ohtani stated:

“I have never asked him to transfer money nor have I given him permission to do so.”

“He stole money from my account and lied to everyone around me.”

He spoke in a clear tone.

“In that statement at the time, he didn’t talk about the ‘collusion’ from Mizuhara. If he wanted to appeal his innocence, he could have brought up those exchanges, but Ohtani only clearly denied the key points. Perhaps there was a consideration not to push Mizuhara with his own words,” said a sports newspaper reporter.

Mizuhara was indicted on bank fraud charges by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles on the 13th and appeared in court. Shortly thereafter, he was granted bail with conditions such as a $25,000 bail bond (approximately 3.83 million yen), surrender of his passport, and mandatory participation in a rehabilitation program for gambling addiction.

The plea is set to take place at the next court hearing on May 9th. Will new truths be revealed?

  • PHOTO Kojiro Yamada

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