The commissioner of Japanese baseball has said that the first matches of next year's Major League Baseball (MLB) regular season will take place in Japan on March 19 and 20, 2025.

According to Japanese reports, Sadayuki Sakakibara, of the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization, has said that the location and participating teams for the games have not been finalized yet.

Japanese and US media outlets have, however, reported that the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team featuring Japanese players Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Shohei Ohtani, and the Chicago Cubs, may be involved.

Indeed, earlier this week, the Dodgers unveiled a tie-up with Japanese airline All Nippon Airways.

Sakakibara met MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in South Korea last month to discuss the potential move, with Kyodo News reporting that Sakakibara has now said: “We spoke about the plan going forward on those dates.

"It would be great if it works out like that. But nothing is decided at this moment. I was told (Manfred) wanted teams that would deliver high-quality baseball.”

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Baseball is hugely popular in Japan, with a wide range of media networks currently holding MLB coverage rights.

Last month, the Dodgers played in a season-opening series against the San Diego Padres in Seoul, South Korea.

MLB regular-season games last took place in Japan in 2019, while the 2024 MLB campaign will see games played in Mexico and the UK, as well as the completed South Korea swing. Six games in total are scheduled to be held internationally this year.

In February, Manfred announced he will retire when his current term ends in January 2029. He will be 70 years old and will have been commissioner for 14 years by the end of the current term.

Manfred has been commissioner of the 30-team MLB since January 2015 after taking over from Bud Selig, who spent 18 years in the role. He has served two five-year terms and the team owners voted to grant him a third term in July.