TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's professional baseball governing body should weed out those involved in a gambling scandal, the country's Sports Minister Hiroshi Hase said after a fourth player from the Yomiuri Giants admitted to his involvement in illegal betting.
Giants' reliever Kyosuke Takagi admitted he bet on baseball games in 2014 with three other players from the club already banned indefinitely last November for involvement in the same scandal.
Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), which prohibits professional players from betting on baseball games, had earlier said they have not uncovered any involvement from players from other teams.
"I'd like to ask if he really is the last person involved. We can't clear those doubts," Hase told reporters, according to a Kyodo News report. "I'd also like to ask Nippon Professional Baseball if it's just the Giants.
"I'd like this to be properly dealt with."
Hase graduated from Seiryo High School, the same school Takagi went to and said he felt "sorry".
"I've known him well since his high-school days, I was cheering him on watching games. I feel sorry as one of the seniors from the same school," the minister said.
"I want all those involved to be severely punished."
(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O'Brien)