Kyodo sports news summary

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TOKYO, Dec. 24 (22:59) Kyodo

Figure skating: Vancouver Olympian Oda retires

SAITAMA, Japan - Vancouver Olympian Nobunari Oda announced his
retirement Tuesday following the exhibition gala of the Japan
national championships.

"I've decided to call it a career today," said the 26-year-old
Oda, who finished fourth at the nationals won by Yuzuru Hanyu. "I
failed to make the Sochi Olympic team and I thought it was time."

Soccer: Sagan chasing ex-Japan defender Yasuda

TOSU, Japan - Sagan Tosu are attempting to sign former Japan
defender Michihiro Yasuda from relegated Jubilo Iwata, sources told
Kyodo News on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old Yasuda only signed with Jubilo in September
after two-and-a-half seasons at Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem, who he
joined from Gamba Osaka.

Baseball: Ex-prosecutor Kumazaki to be named new commissioner

TOKYO - Katsuhiko Kumazaki, a former Tokyo district prosecutor,
is set to be named as the new commissioner of Nippon Professional
Baseball, Kyodo News learned Tuesday.

An extraordinary meeting will be held on Thursday, when the
appointment is expected to be approved. The creation of the post of
secretary general is also being considered, and the new No. 2 would
likely be chosen from the financial sector.

Baseball: Rakuten may decide on Tanaka by Wednesday

SENDAI - Hang on to the edge of your seats -- the Rakuten Eagles
could announce their decision on Masahiro Tanaka's future as early as

Team president Yozo Tachibana said Tuesday that Rakuten is in
the final stages of its discussions on Tanaka, who has asked the
Eagles to post him to the major leagues, and eager to end the
suspense as soon as possible.

Baseball: Hawks steal Lee from Buffaloes

FUKUOKA - The Softbank Hawks pried away South Korean slugger Lee
Dae Ho from the Orix Buffaloes on Tuesday, addressing their need for
a big bat in the middle of the order.

"It means a great deal to have an opportunity to play for a
contender," Lee said in a statement. "I can't wait to get started."

Baseball: Carp re-sign closer Mickolio

HIROSHIMA - The Hiroshima Carp signed closer Kam Mickolio to a
new one-year contract worth 120 million yen plus incentives, the team
announced Tuesday.

In his second year in Japan, the 29-year-old Mickolio made 57
appearances, posting a 2-4 record with a 2.04 ERA and 27 saves, the
third most in the Central League.

Olympics: Gov't to invest 1.37 bil. yen in FY2014 in developing 2020

TOKYO - The Japanese government will set aside a record high
sports budget of 25.5 billion yen for the next fiscal year,
appropriating 1.37 billion yen alone toward developing medal hopefuls
for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved the nation's general account
budget for fiscal 2014, calculating a total increase of 1.2 billion
yen for sports-related matters from the original budget in the
previous year.

Soccer: Jubilo announce World Cup midfielder Matsui signing

IWATA, Japan - Former Japan international Daisuke Matsui has
signed with the J-League's Jubilo Iwata, the J2-bound club announced
on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old 2010 World Cup midfielder arrives from Poland's
Lechia Gdansk. He last played in Japan 10 years ago with Kyoto Sanga
before transferring to Le Mans of France.

Baseball: Abe becomes 3rd player in Japan to earn 600 mil. yen

TOKYO - Yomiuri Giants captain Shinnosuke Abe will celebrate
Christmas with a memorable pay raise after becoming the third player
in Japanese baseball history to reach the 600 million yen plateau

Abe signed a two-year deal with the Central League champions
worth 600 million yen annually, up 30 million yen from his old

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