Japan to host MLB season opener next year. GETTY IMAGES

The commissioner of Japanese baseball has announced that the first games of the upcoming Major League Baseball season will be played in Japan on 19 and 20 March 2025.

According to Japanese media reports, Sadayuki Sakakibara of the Nippon Professional Baseball Organisation has mentioned that the exact location and participating teams for the games to open next year's Major League Baseball (MLB) season in Japan have yet to be finalised.

Last month, Sakakibara met with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in South Korea as the baseball season got underway, coinciding with the start of the campaign for Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Dodgees. "We discussed the plan for the future on these dates," Sakakibara was quoted as saying by Kyodo News on Wednesday.

Japanese and US media have suggested that the series could include the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team featuring Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, as well as the Chicago Cubs.

"It would be great if it worked out that way, but nothing has been decided at this point. I was told (Manfred) wanted teams that would provide quality baseball," Sakakibara said.

Ohtani, who has denied the gambling allegations, enjoys immense popularity in Japan with media coverage almost daily, documenting not only his game performances but also his practice sessions. Last month, Los Angeles Dodgers visited Seoul for a season-opening series against the San Diego Padres.