Japan players threaten WBC boycott

TOKYO -- Japan's players' association has threatened to boycott the 2013 World Baseball Classic because calls for a larger share of tournament revenue weren't met.

Japan is the two-time defending champion but its players' union isn't satisfied with how sponsorship and merchandising revenues are divided. The tournament is organized by Major League Baseball.

"We made our demands to the organizers a year and half ago," said Takahiro Arai, chairman of the players' union. "But we have yet to get a response, and since it appears one is not coming we are forced to take this stance."

Japan made similar threats before the 2009 tournament but eventually took part to defend the title it won in the inaugural tournament in 2006. While most of the team is made up of players from Nippon Professional Baseball, players from MLB such as Daisuke Matsuzaka and Ichiro Suzuki have taken part.

A total of 28 teams are scheduled to participate in the 2013 WBC with Japan hosting the first round.