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March 20, 2017

Hiroki Kokubo

Los Angeles, California

THE MODERATOR: Good morning, manager.

HIROKI KOKUBO: Good morning.

THE MODERATOR: We are happy to be joined by Team Japan manager, Hiroki Kokubo. First question?

Q. Tomorrow's game, how do you feel, frankly? What is your frank feeling right now?
HIROKI KOKUBO: I am not nervous yet. Tomorrow I guess my tension will grow. I will be more nervous tomorrow.

Q. Best four besides Japan, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, USA, the best four are now here. From your viewpoint, what are the remaining three countries, what is your impression of the remaining three countries?
HIROKI KOKUBO: We are playing USA, so the other two teams at this point I am not thinking too much about the other two teams. But my impression, say rough impression is every team from every country is a very strong opponent. There is no doubt about that.

Q. Tomorrow, against USA in the game, in fighting against them, do you have any important points? What do you think are the important points for tomorrow's game as manager?
HIROKI KOKUBO: Well, probably completely away games, so it's the ambiance of that, and the ambiance of the ballpark. So not to get lost in the ambiance of the ballpark. So once the game starts, the starting pitcher will create a game to a certain extent. That's necessary for our win, I think.

Q. About the starting pitcher tomorrow, please tell me who is going to pitch, and when did you tell him? And what is your impression of the American starting pitcher?
HIROKI KOKUBO: Tomorrow, Sugano will pitch tomorrow. When I told him was at Narita Airport in the waiting room. I trust him. Among the pitchers, he's the best, so we're entrusting him. As for a pitcher, we checked him out. He pitches and lets the hitter ground out, so has very good control, the pitcher. He throws to the corners.

Q. Pitcher Sugano, I understand he's starting, but starting members, have you already decided on who the starting members are?
HIROKI KOKUBO: I have not yet. But the main players are already decided, so one or two players, what to do about it, after completely deciding the starting pitchers, I thought I'll make the decision.

Q. Arizona was pretty hot. Now that you are here, all the players are moving their bodies and the temperature is pretty low. Including the time difference, the players are tired. How can they recover? What do you think about the players recovering after Tokyo Dome's fight?
HIROKI KOKUBO: There were some games that were hot, and tomorrow we'll win or we'll lose. So win or lose. So toward the goal, everybody adjusts their own condition and do their best work, I think.

Q. Tomorrow it's a very strong opponent, but how are you going to fight and how can you gain the opportunity?
HIROKI KOKUBO: As I said earlier, the starting pitcher is very important, I think. As I said, first the play itself is whether there are opportunities or not, we'll do the best we can to win. That's what we'll do.

Q. The starting pitcher in the game is very important. How about position players and team batting? What is your important point, do you think, among the position players?
HIROKI KOKUBO: As for the hitting lineup, lefties, where do we place the left-hand hitters, that's certain. In the starting lineup, that's an important point. After that, there is a flow of the game, how the game flows once the game starts.

So the other day, Hirata stole bases too. When there's a chance that we will take on the opportunities. If something like that comes up, and we can take advantage of that aspect, that will be great.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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