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"...this is a breaking news bulletin! The long-ailing Emperor, Ozu, has just been pronounced dead by his Chamberlain, Ito Tadayoshi. It has been no secret that His Majesty had been suffering from a terminal case of Parkinson's disease. Physicians at Miyako Akihiro Hospital had tried to keep the Emperor comfortable over the last two years of his life. This is a day of great mourning for all Kipanese. He leaves behind his wife, Ara, and one son, Naito. Three days of mourning will be instituted and will be concluded with a private burial...hold on...we're getting a new development to this story...Chamberlain Tadayoshi is now making a further declaration on the steps of the Imperial Palace...we take you there now..."

The screen changes from the newsroom to a man in military uniform, the Chamberlain.

"...With His Majesty's death, I have been instructed, per his final will and testament, to make the following statement..." He clears his throat and begins to read it word for word.

"...I, the Emperor of Kipan, do hereby convey, that upon my death, and in the interest of Kipan's future, that the Monarchy is to be abolished and a new system of Government is to be formed in its place. The Chamberlain has been given the names of 100 influential and notable Kipanese across the academic, corporate, legal, and democratic activist communities. They will be summoned to my former royal retreat in the town of Ryuku to develop, write, and ratify a new constitution. With the abolishment of my office, this statement confirms that my son Naito will not succeed me as Emperor, even during the interim period. Both my wife and son will be moving to our northern estate. Instead, the Chamberlain shall hold all executive functions of state until the new Constitution is enacted. To calm fears amongst the populace and the world-at-large, ten of the biggest individuals on the provided list were consulted before the will and testament were finalized and signed by my hand, and all agreed to his appointment. As I pass onto the Next World, I wish you, my people, the very best going forward. For Kipan has a bright future ahead..."

The Chamberlain then folds up the piece of paper and begins to take questions from the assembled press on a wide range of questions. This continues for 20 minutes before he steps back from the podium and walks back into the Imperial Palace. The screen returns to the newsroom. "...the full recording of that press conference will be played again this evening at 21:00 or online at nbk.kp. We will continue to keep you updated on the most up-to-date developments concerning the Interim Government led by the Chamberlain and the impending Ryuku Constitutional Convention..."

Edited by Kipan
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"...all of Kipan is in sadness today. Much of the country has been shut down to mourn the passing of Emperor Ozu, the most enlightened and progressive of rulers in several generations. He, like his predecessor, was a benevolent ruler who truly loved his people and strived to make their lives as comfortable as possible. It was at the start of his reign that he proclaimed that all students had the opportunity to attend higher education, outright eliminating school fees. This triggered a 55% increase in the number of students in just five years. During his later years, he even took a bold step by introducing universal healthcare, covering nearly 95% of the populace. These two reforms alone have transformed Kipan. From the outside world, these actions would seem as if the Emperor was gravitating towards socialism. Ozu always firmly reject such titles, saying that it was in the best interest of the Kipanese people."

"This same rationale can be applied to Ozu's deathbed declaration of abolishing his own office. NBK found a clip from an interview it had done with Emperor Ozu six years ago in which he commented on some remarks made by the Kipanese Democratic Movement. He said the following:

Quote

'Democracy has a time and place. This will inevitably happen, but I believe the model we have operating at the moment is for the benefit of the Kipanese people. I do not deny the allure of democracy, nor do I outright reject its principles or intentions. It will come.' 

With his death, Democracy seems all but assured at coming. At the time in which the Emperor implied in his past remarks."

"The Emperor's body has been laid in state in the Imperial Palace. Members of the Kipanese population will be able to view his body for the next three days before he is buried in a private funeral that will be attended by the Chamberlain, his surviving immediate and extended family members. A spokesman for the Chamberlain would not comment if anyone of the Hundred, the group NBK is for the time being referring to as those to be convened in Ryuku, would be present."

"Individuals should be alerted that demand for rail transport to Miyako from across the Metropolis and across the Islands is extremely heavy. Kipan Railways is attempting to accommodate the surge as much as possible by adding additional services."

Edited by Kipan
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"...I am Shiro Shinobi. The Miyako Metropolitan Corporation, the governing authority for the capital, today announced that it would be officially requesting proposals for the complete reconstruction of Shintoko Station and the surrounding area. Shintoko is regarded as the central business district and beating heart of Kipanese capitalism. The station serving the immediate surroundings is the busiest both for the national railway and the Miyako Kaanaiisiga  (Rapid Transit) system."

"The estimated value of the contract is upwards of 32 billion Ken over the next 20 years as it would involve not just the station complex, but over 50 additional buildings. The Corporation's spokesperson said that Shintoko's reconstruction is imperative to long-term economic growth for the State, particularly as it moves into unchartered waters of Republicanism. A representative on behalf of Asami Sato, who is currently in Ryuku for the Constitutional Convention, said that the Sato Corporation fully intends to answer the call. Samura Heavy Industries stated in a press release following the MMC's announcement that they too would submit a proposal for consideration. The Kamida Corporation would not confirm nor deny its intentions. Proposals are due September 10th."

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"...I am Shiro Shinobi, bringing you breaking news from the Ryuku Constitutional Convention. We were just informed that the Convention has come to a consensus and a completed draft of our New Constitution has been presented for final debate amongst the Hundred. NBK has been given a brief synopsis of the New Republic's government structure. Kipan will be led under a Unitary presidential republic system with the President as the head of state and government. The Assembly, the to-be-created unicameral legislature, made up of 451 members, will be responsible for writing and approving laws, and an independent judiciary will be created."

"In order to get this governing system incorporated into the constitution, the various business leaders amongst the Hundred demanded near-unlimited influence over the economy and the agreement that the Government would have limited rights to interfere in the marketplace. The Constitution will be put to a final debate and vote over the week and if approved by a majority, it will come into force immediately. State Executor Ito Tadayoshi issued a brief statement saying that he was prepared to transfer authority to the Convention Chair who would serve as the formal Interim President until elections are held in October."

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"...breaking news! The Constitution has been passed unanimously by the Convention and has been put into immediate effect. Ito Tadayoshi, the former Chamberlain to Emperor Ozu and until today, State Executor, has formally delegated executive authority to Interim President Tadashi Hashimoto. In his very first executive order, he has called for elections to occur on October 1st, for both the Presidency and the 451-member Assembly. His second executive order proclaimed that September 13th would be forever be known as Republic Day, symbolizing the formal transition from Imperial to Elective governance."

"Within minutes of the proclamation, two members of the now-dissolved Convention, Kazuo Yamazaki, and Akio Ono have stated their intention of running for the Presidency. Political parties have existed in Kipan for many years but now that an elective body is involved in the running of government, they will have a far more pronounced influence. Yamazaki has aligned himself with the more center-right Rikken while Ono, with her democratic activist roots, is connected to the Minshu. NBK expects several others to jump into the nation's very first election in the coming days. NBK will keep you informed of the latest activities surrounding our nation's very first election..."

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"...the presidential debate between Yamazaki and Ono just concluded and NBK is ready to release the final poll ahead of election day. Out of 2,940 respondents, 54% stated that they were either intending on voting for Rikken candidate Yamazaki with 45% saying they'd vote for Ono and her liberal Minshu and 1% saying neither would receive their vote. This indicates that if similar results hold up at the polls on 1st October, Yamazaki and his party are slated for a historic win, the first free Kipanese elections. A reminder to our viewers, the Presidency is not the only office on the ballot - the 451 members of the unicameral National Assembly will also be determined and the Rikken is likely to gain a firm majority in the chamber."

"The Shukuro will be playing the Blacksuns of the Sunset Sea Islands on 3rd October in a friendly match prior to the official commencement of the 2018 SATAMFC League Cup on 8th October in the Islands. Head coach Akira Tadao said the team is ready to take on the World Cup champions as a final exercise before competing against the rest of the confederation's participants. A spokesman for the Fuyo Group stated that over five million jerseys with Yanagi Ochiyo's name and the assigned number have been sold to an excited fan base. Officials from Kipan Airlines noted that every flight between today and 8th October to the Sunset Sea Islands has been completely booked by Shukuro fans going to watch the match in-person in Sunset City's Elegy Arena. Pending how the match and League Cup fares, the airline may increase the current three daily flights to upwards of six per day."

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"...breaking news! NBK is ready to project that Kazuo Yamazaki will become the first President of Kipan with 53% of the vote. His victory was sealed after his fiery performance in the debate, galvanizing many traditionalists who were still lamenting the dissolution of the Monarchy to give him a chance to prove them wrong. It was during the debate that he stressed that Kipan needed to move forward but also to give due recognition to longstanding Kipanese heritage and culture." 

"Ono accepted her loss but stated that she was not going anywhere and would act as a determined opposition. While was a candidate for the Presidency, she was also a candidate for the National Assembly and the Minshu Party has confirmed that she will take her seat in the chamber. The Minshu Party leads the Assembly's opposition with consisting of 102 of 143 members. The remaining 308 Assembly members are of the ruling Riiken Party. Yamazaki will be sworn into office tonight and immediately get to work on further building the new Kipanese State."

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"...I'm Shiro Shinobi, and you're watching NBK Sports where we just witnessed our outstanding players beating the Asgerrians abroad in the first round of the SATAMFC League Cup. After 90 minutes of gameplay, the Shukuro completed three goals to their host's single netting. Kipanese football on the international stage has always been shaky but it is clear that the KFA's decision to hire Tadao as head coach was the absolute right call and he's assembled a formidable team. While coaching is important, at the end of the day, it is all about the players on the field and the absolute star is Yanagi Ochiyo, the forward who plays for Nakazami Diamonds football club (and talks continue to be ongoing about a potential trade to F.C. Miyako) who scored two of the three achieved goals. In the studio with me is Toshiyuki Doi, a sports columnist for the Kinyo Shinbun newspaper, and former F.C. Miyako midfielder Kenji Tenzai. Welcome to the program."

"Thank you, thank you."

"Toshiyuki, what do you think was the biggest weakness in the game for the Asgerrians?"

"They just looked like they didn't have a plan at all. Their players looked confused, and while both teams had an equal number of offsides, the incidents caused by the host team were far worse. The play that remotely seemed to work was when they lined up the successive passes for their only goal. But even then, it was a rather weak set piece."

"Kenji, you were watching the match closely, where do you see the strength in this Kipanese team?"

"It lies in the trifecta of Ochiyo, Kinjo, and Hoshi. The three of them, when in coordination, are nigh unstoppable. The clubs they play for back on the Islands - each of them are making at least fifty to fifty-five million Ken a year. The fact that Tadao was able to bring them all together onto the team is a coup."

"What's your opinion of Ochiyo?"

"He's an amazing forward. Probably the best in the entire SATAMFC. Although this only the first round, he certainly has many more goals in him to give to the team."

"We have just received a statement from Coach Tadao and it is rather brief saying that he is happy with the way his players competed on the pitch today, that their hard work, determination, and long hours of pre-Cup training has paid off. He goes on to say that the Shukuro are already preparing for their next match against Shffahkia at their home stadium in Port-Réel."

"Before we go, Kenji, do you think the team will be triumph over the Shffahkians?"

"Without a doubt. They lost their initial match against Andalla and had a lackluster performance at their most recent appearance in the World Cup. There is nothing that shows that they'll overtake our line. Even the pundits abroad are collaborating this story."

"Thank you both for joining me. Tune into NBK for a live feed of the Shffahkia-Kipan match next week or listen to it read play-by-play on NBK Radio 2."

Edited by Kipan
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"...I'm Shiro Shinobi for NBK, live from Obon Stadium where the Shukuro have just completed dominated against Faramount in the third round of the SATAMFC League Cup. The team is at the very top of the League rankings, no team comes close to the performances given by Tadao's players. Second-highest, the Blacksuns of the Sunset Sea Islands, is the true match-up of the entire league for Kipan - which occur in the seventh round. We'll have a two-hour long program exclusive on that impending game - both pre and post-match. But now, let's refocus on today's game against the Greens. As always here with me is Toshiyuki Doi, sports columnist for the Kinyo Shinbun newspaper, and former F.C. Miyako midfielder Kenji Tenzai. Welcome to the program."

"Thank you, thank you."

"Kenji-san," he began. "Ochiyo is truly on fire. There is no forward has been able to stop him. He's the top scorer in the entire league. What do you think is driving this young 26-year old?"

"I think it's his coaches on the Diamonds in Nakazami. As you know, they are the second-best team in the K1 League and the only reason they haven't gotten as many titles is that they didn't have Ochiyo sooner. Regardless of that, Yanagi has always had the best trainers, even when he was in University. His footwork is just exceptional. And not to mention, I am actually quite jealous of him." Shinobi looked back at him. "Really?" he questioned. "Yes. He reminds me of me a decade ago when I played for F.C. Miyako. "Do you know if the conversations around him being traded to your old club are still alive?" Shiro said curiously. "I think the deliberations are ongoing but based on his performance out here on the pitch. I see it very hard for the Diamonds to let him go."

"Doi, as Kenji just told us, it's Ochiyo's footwork that is stupendous. What do you think was the highlight of the entire match?" The columnist readjusts his glasses, "It was in the sixty-seventh minute when Faramount had an opportunity to equalize the match but their forward wasn't thinking straight and kicked it straight into goalkeeper Denbe's hands. It just went all south for them by then as Akane and Sekozawa got the ball out of the Kipanese side and into the elegant skill of Hoshi. When we talked about the first round against the Asgeirrians, once the ball is with Hoshi, a trifecta is essentially activated. He passed it off to Ochiyo and fainted a kick, distracting the goalkeeper to move the wrong way and punched into the right-side of the net. The Faramountians were completely distraught at that point."

"We're a third of the way through the first phase of the League Cup and our team is on top. Where do you see the team possibly losing?" The columnist was the first to respond. "There are three major teams that Kipan needs to beat to truly run the table and probably just outright win the Cup and that's the Vinotinto of Mauridiviah next week, the Blacksuns of Sunset Sea Islands in the seventh stretch, and Gallambria in the second-to-last match. They may have fewer points, but they all have their strengths. The Kipanese team has not played either Mauridiviah or Gallambria in some time and their teams do have considerable defensive capabilities. But as you said at the start of the program, it's verus the Blacksuns that will, without a doubt, be the most-watched."

"Do you have anything to add Tenzai?"

"If I were Coach Tadao, I wouldn't have Ochiyo play the next two matches. Yes, as Doi just said, that the Mauridiviah's are a challenge, I think both Geihei Kinjo and one of our less-played forwards, Shinzo Nagama, will be able to keep up Kipan's first place positioning until the Sunset Sea Islands and bring Ochiyo back to face Kevin Thu."

"Have you ever competed against Thu in your past time on the national squad?"

"I have not but I watched his performance during the World Cup and he's certainly a force to contend with on the pitch."

"We have Miyoshi Basho down on the field with Number 11, Ochiyo himself, to talk about the match. Doi and Tenzai, hang on while we speak with the two of them briefly." They both nod in acknowledgment.

"Miyoshi-san, go ahead. "Thank you Shiro. Yanagi, you must be absolutely thrilled with both yours and that of your teammates' stellar performance in the Cup so far." The player nods and gives his response. "It is like a dream. I am pretty sure none of us expected to be undefeated so far. While I may be the one netting the goals predominately, the truth is that is a collective team effort and without my colleagues, we wouldn't have gotten the ball down the pitch as seamlessly as we've been able to do over these three matches."

"Shiro and I both agree that you have an almost mind-melded relationship with your fellow forward Kinjo and dominant midfielder Hoshi. Can you explain that, I suppose, special connection the three of you have?"

"Sure, sure. Kinjo and I have been playing on opposing teams for the last four years - he with F.C. Miyako and me with the Diamonds, while Hoshi has been with Ngozi. But we all played in the youth league when we were sixteen, seventeen years old. And all three of us got brought up to the Kipanese Football Association's Training Academy when we graduated from University. We may all play each other in the K1, we are a unified team here and we leave our respective teams at the door."

"That's great. I am sure you have gotten many questions about a potential trade from your current team to F.C. Miyako, do you have anything to say about that."

"Nothing at this time other than to say that the Diamonds have always been my family, having drafted me right out of the training academy and they've done nothing but given me respect and encouragement in my talents that I bring to our game."

"You've been playing really, really well the last two weeks. Is there a particular opponent that you are looking forward to playing against?"

"Without a doubt, that is the Blacksuns and their premier forward, Kevin Thu. We remarkably beat them in a friendly match right before this League Cup series began and I was astonished that we beat the World Cup champions in that match-up. And I am sure they were equally surprised that we won. But I only got to see a small slice of Thu's skill and I am eagerly awaiting playing him again."

"Thank you Ochiyo and we wish both you and the rest of the team over the coming matches."

"Thank you," he said and the show returns to Shiro.

"We're out of time for this week but we'll be back next week with a post-game interview with Coach Tadao following the Kipan-Mauridiviah match. You can watch that game either live here on NBK Sports or listen to the play-by-play on NBK Radio 2."

Edited by Kipan
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"...deliberations between F.C. Miyako and the Nakazami Diamonds concerning a potential trade of Yanagi Ochiyo, the Diamond's star forward to the capital's football club in exchange for K93 million in cash and the right to acquire two of the League's best midfielders they had previously gained from Ketsugo have ended. Both parties decided to call off discussions after the Diamonds, and Ochiyo's agent requested an increased transfer fee of K110.2 million. Many believe that the young 26-year-old's performance in the SATAMFC League Cup has dramatically raised his value. Nakazami Diamonds owner Toyama Zeshin and the team's coach Kuse Noburo said they look forward to Yanagi's continued presence on Nakazami's roster and eagerly await the new K1 League season in March with him leading the way..."

"...wide-scale gambling is currently illegal (with the exception of those games occurring on cruise ships or through the State's official lottery system) but the practice has been known to be extensively operated under the surface by the Hogosha, the Kaizoku, the Kagemusha, and the Onikanabo - all well-known to be engaged in criminal activities and using their gains to fund even worse operations. Some of whom are rumored to be affiliated with several of Kipan's largest keiretsus."

"The Emperors of the past vigorously resisted in allowing gambling across the Kipanese Islands. Only under Ozu did the first 'endorsed' lottery get established for the purposes of not just giving workers a chance at winning a major jackpot to improve their quality of life, if not jump various strata of society, but to provide municipalities with badly-needed revenue to fund essential services like firefighters, medical clinics, and schools."

"Given the Shokuro's success in the SATAMFC League, dozens of legislators in the National Assembly have put forth a proposal to open gambling in all forms in Kipan. They argue that by bringing such activities out of the shadows and under the focus of the Government, that it would deal a blow to the grey market. Though the proposed legislation comes from members of the center-right Rikken Party, many more traditionalists within the party oppose it. President Yamazaki said in a brief statement that he would examine whatever passed proposal made it to his desk before signing it. It is rumored that the Yashida and Ariake Corporations have been actively lobbying for its approval..."

"...the Yashida and Sato Corporations today announced that the latter would be completely taking over the former's cruise ship subsidiary called Shukensha. The Sato Corporation has in recent months been developing major inroads in the hospitality and tourism industries. This is just the latest move. Two years ago, Asami Sato purchased the independent Satsuma Hotel chain; and last year started their own budget airline called Fuchsia, flying vacationers residing in Miyako to various domestic holiday hotspots include Akkio and Osmon. The addition of the cruise line now allows the Sato Corporation to optimize their tourism business and provide millions with a greater range of products..."

 

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"...I'm Shiro Shinobi for NBK, live from Obon Stadium where the Shukuro's winning streak ended in a tie with Mauridiviah. I have in the studio with me Junichi Takeda, former Shukuro coach, and former F.C. Midfielder Kenji Tenzai. Thank you for both of you for joining me."

"Does this draw impact the team for the rest of the initial cycle?"

"No, no," said Takeda, "they're still in first place and there is no way they'd be dropping unless the team was to begin slipping up big time over the next few rounds."

"Was the lack of Ochiyo not on the field tonight the cause of the loss?"

"Hoshi, even though he's a midfielder like me," started Tenzai, "he has performed just as well as he's done when the trifecta was on the field. The coach needs Ochiyo to take on Kevin Thu in a few weeks."

"Worst moment of the match?" asked Shiro. "Without a doubt," said Takeda, "was in the sixty-seventh minute when the Mauridivians scored. Up until that moment, it was a complete stalemate on the pitch. But I must say, Judas Cruz is a formidable player and has scored several times during the course of the competition." Takeda then jumped in, "while that was a disappointing moment, things turned around rather quickly once the ball had gotten into Kipanese possession under Sekozawa and Ngami, who got into the footwork of Hoshi who equalized the game with ten minutes remaining. Unfortunately, even though the Shukuro controlled the ball for the rest of the match, they just couldn't get it through."

The midfielder added, "if anything, though the loss was saddening, this was a perfect opportunity for the Kipanese, who don't regularly play the Vinotinto in their sub-confederation, a chance to learn ahead of the knock-out round, especially if they end up playing them in the first stage."

"Do you think the team is missing anything at the moment?"

"I don't think its missing talent but I think Tadao needs to give some of the midfielders a break. I would bring on Ryota Nakamoto of Aso Sunrise to give Sekozawa a rest." Tenzai agreed. "Though we lost this week, the absolute worst thing that could happen right now is if Sekozawa or even Hoshi were to get injured as they are core to many plays that we've seen performed on the field over the last few weeks."

"Anything else before we switch for a moment to briefly speak with Coach Tadao in person?"

"I do have one comment to make," said Takeda, "go ahead." He paused for a second. "The fact that Faramount, a team with a poor performance in the entire League managed to take down Sunset Sea Island's Blacksuns. That was just stunning to me when I was watching it last night. There is something wrong within the former World Cup champions team and if I were them, I'd get it sorted out before they play us."

"Coach Takeda," asked Shiro, "it sounds like you are very optimistic that we'll be able to beat them in the seventh round..."

"I am. We'll have Ochiyo on the field, and perhaps the strongest offensive of all the competing teams. Kevin Thu is good, but Yanagi is better."

"Thank you, and now over to Coach Tadao," he said, the camera changes to a corridor of Obon Stadium leading to the Shukuro clubhouse where NBK field reporter Miyoshi Basho is speaking with the national coach one-on-one.

"I want to thank you for this opportunity. I will keep this conversation brief as possible as I know you have several meetings this evening, including a discussion with the Football Association."

"Thank you Basho," he responded. "Though tonight's draw was a disappointment, are you worried about the next two rounds at all?" He gave his answer, "no. Pallamara and Andalla have both been less than stellar this time. Shukuro will play both and win but our supreme focus at the moment is the Blacksuns, to be played here, at home." Basho then followed up, "Have you already begun planning for the knock-out round?" Tadao had already been asked that question by three other reporters that morning. "No. We're strategizing and practicing for one match at a time and right now, all the energy is on the Sunset Sea Islands in three weeks." He was clearly not happy to speak with NBK. "We will have Ochiyo in prime condition to take on Thu. However, just to get ahead of the speculation, we will have Shinzo Nagama also playing as a forward in that match, alongside both Yanagi and Geihei."

"So a more offensive lineup than in past matches?" Tadao didn't want to give too much away. "The Blacksuns, while they were beaten by the Greens of Faramount, I see that match as a pure fluke and they simply were too overconfident. When they play us, it will be the most intensive match played all year, perhaps for maybe Variota vs. Prymont that occurred the other day or perhaps even when Iverica competes with Prymont later on in the ANA."

"Certainly. Based on the results so far, its hard to fathom that the Kipanese wouldn't make it to the next Nations Cup..." the coach cuts him off. "Let's not get ahead of ourselves," he retorted. "The SATAMFC Cup isn't over yet. We'll talk about the Nations, let alone the Thalassian. The Shukuro and the Kipanese Football Association will discuss the next major competition once this is over." A further follow-up, "of course but I am sure you'd want the chance to compete against the improbably well-off Prymontian team." Tadao gave a smirk. "Who wouldn't?"

"One last question, we heard rumors that the national team has brought up a new defensive player to the squad..." Tadao knew this news couldn't be held back anymore. "Yes. We've assigned the 24-year-old Hakaru Azuma from the Yokomoto Dragonflies to help bolster the back line." Basho responded, "you did this before the Mauridivian match, why didn't you put him today?" He grumbled, "he literally arrived two days before the match and we didn't want to make the challenge of facing the Vinotinto more so with a completely new player who still has to get within the mold of the rest of the team. Do not worry, you'll see him on the pitch before the end of the round robin."

"Thank you coach for your time and we wish you the best of luck in your upcoming matches against Andalla and Pallamara." He nodded, bowed, and went into the Shukuro clubhouse.

"Back to you Shiro," said Basho. "Thank you Miyoshi-san. As usual, NBK will be broadcasting all the matches played by the Shukuro. And a reminder: we will be having both a special pre-match and post-match segments following the Kipan-Sunset Sea Islands match in three weeks time. The matches will also be livestreamed online, and broadcasted over NBK Radio 2."

"And now we switch sports to baseball..."

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"...while the national football team is currently competing in the SATAMFC League Cup, and the K1 League here at home doesn't begin until March, there is one sport that has taken the nation by storm: baseball. The Samura Giants and the Asakai Swallows will begin a best-of-seven-game series to claim the highest award in professional baseball in Kipan: the Ichi Pennant. The first two games will be played at Samura Horaado Stadium in Miyako, with a further three scheduled at Kiyo Field in Asakai. The last two games, should they be needed, will be played in the capital. Tickets are going for as little as 37 Ken or as high as 10,000 Ken for a private box."

"...the Miyako Metropolitan Corporation today announced the Shintoko Redevelopment Project decision is close to being approved and that it will be speaking with its finalist consortium, ensuring that it can fulfill all required legal and financial obligations. The finalist will be thoroughly vetted by officials. The Corporation expects to make an announcement on its development partner at the end of the month. As previously stated, at full build-out, the project is slated to be valued at over 32 billion Ken."

"...Ariake Electronics is set to release its latest smartphone, the Opal 3, in time for the New Year, and will be available in all major department and electronic stores except for those own by the Sato Corporation. This phone has the largest screen to date, a better camera, and enhanced voice capability. The Ariake Store is currently developing a new wave of applications and improved versions of those on the popular Opal 2 that customers can procure on the day of sale. According to sources close to NBK, the Opal 3 will be priced at 341 Ken. Sato is in deliberations with the Elergy Megacorporation about selling their latest phones in Sato Department Stores and affiliated vendors at a competitive cost before the Ariake Opal 3 hits store shelves..."

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"..Kipan Airlines CEO Hiroshi Yamagata today announced that the air carrier would experience an increase in international flights. The ever-popular Miyako-Sunset City route will see its frequencies rise to five times daily, up from the current three. The airline's OneSky partner, Havrær, already operates a once-daily Dartha-Miyako flight and Kipan Airlines will follow suit and double capacity with its own once-daily. Arkhavn in Andalla will see twice-daily flights. Namazaki will get twice-daily service to Sunset City and once-daily to Arkhavn. Additional daily flights to be introduced over the next year include Orionipolis, Cristina, and Wulumuqi in Fulgistan."

"...in baseball, the Samura Giants have beaten the Asakai Swallows four games to one to win the Ichi Pennant. The Giants have won the title now over 25 times, their closest rivals, the Namazaki Ospreys have won it 19 times. The team's owner, Fujimaro Taketa, praised his players and said he was excited to see the team win the title next year. There have been rumors that the Giants may compete outside Kipan according to unnamed sources within Professional Baseball of Kipan Inc. (PBK). Announcements concerning this will likely occur this winter."

"...President Kazuo Yamazaki has officially appointed Masaki Kaneda as Foreign Minister of the State of Kipan in a formal ceremony in front of the Presidential Palace (former Imperial Palace) in Miyako. Mister Kaneda said he was ecstatic to receive notice of his entitlement and looked forward to representing the Kipanese on the global stage. Kaneda was one of the hundreds of Rikken party members elected to the National Assembly and he will continue to serve in the chamber. A spokesman for the Foreign Minister stated that he plans on an aggressive travel schedule starting with Fulgistan and the Sunset Sea Islands."

"...NBK's football highlights show featuring our very own Shiro Shinobi will not be airing this week as the Kipanese national football team completely destroyed their Pallamarian opponents 4-0 that there would not be enough content to produce a show. Coach Tadao said in a brief statement that he was happy with their performance and remarked that the Shukuro were in intense training for their biggest match of the league against the Blacksuns of the Sunset Sea Islands."

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"...the National Assembly today unanimously passed legislation that would replace the Imperial Anthem of the former Emperors with a new national anthem entitled "The Sun Rises Tomorrow" written by Matsu  Yamada, Professor of Music at the Univerisity of Miyako. Yamada stated that his musical piece is supposed to symbolize the new Democracy and the great future that lies ahead. The anthem was played immediately following the vote. According to the new law, the anthem is to play at noon and midnight each night on NBK, along with over 200 different event scenarios."

"...in other news from the legislature, a bill that would allow gambling across the country, continues to meet challenges within the chamber as traditionalist Rikken members are not consolidating with rest of their party members, forcing Rikken whips to begin finding the votes so the Rikken leadership are not forced to find commitments from the Opposition. Several Yashida Corporation officials were seen entering a dozen traditionalist offices over the last two days. A vote on the bill is expected to occur before the SATAMFC Cup's knockoff rounds begin."

"...the Sato Corporation's automotive subsidiary has announced that it will be opening up a manufacturing plant in the country of Morheim. This development occurred following the establishment of the 'Morheim Trade and Industry Zone (MTIZ).' The facility will construct some parts of the reinvigorated S-1, along with many parts of the new S-2, 3 and 5's. More than 80% of the workers will be native Morheimers. There are rumors that Sato rival, Samura, is considering such a factory in the zone."

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"What a match. What a match," said Shiro Shinobi, confirming with his two guests before the cameraman pointed to him to begin the program. "Welcome to Game Day, with me Shiro Shinobi. With me is former F.C. Miyako midfielder Kenji Tenzai, and Channel 4 Miyako sports commentator Ichiro Shibata. Welcome to the program."

"Thank you, thank you," said both guests. "Shibata-san," started Shiro, "what do you think of the day's match?"

"It was the best match played this entire cup, to date, and I don't think is going to beat this, except if both of these end up competing against each other in the final game. This was, without a doubt, what football is all about. I have been commentating on numerous cups and domestic league matches. If you were not watching it, you truly missed out on something."

Kenji joined in, "he's right. This matchup between the Shukuro and the Blacksuns. Top notch performance. Both teams brought their best squads to bear against the other. I really do hope we see a repeat match."

"What do you think was the best moment in the game for the Shukuro Kenji?" asked Shinobi.

"I want to say it was Yanagi Ochiyo's first goal, just five minutes into the match. It was pretty clear the Blacksuns didn't have an early game plan and once their players had lost the ball, the Kipanese were all over them. Thu, their premier midfielder, had the ball stolen by Katsuo Okazaki and passed it off in Shinji Ishimaru. Then the trifecta came into play. First Hoshi, then off to Kinjo and with the fake pass back to Hoshi, gave it over to Ochiyo who then pounded into the net. A similar play was done when Kinjo scored thirty-five minutes later, giving them a 2-0 lead going into the end of the half."

"Shibata-san, do you think the Blacksuns underestimated the Shukuro?"

"Partially," he responded, "the team's offense was better than when these two teams met for the friendly match ahead of the Cup's commencement back in early October and some lessons were learned but it seems that the Blacksuns offensive strategy played off way too late for it to have made a difference. They got both of their goals into the Shukuro net starting in the seventy-third minute. At best at that point in the match, they could have tied it 3-3 but didn't have the time. The second came during the additional minutes tacked on at the end. But think if they had managed to cut off the defensive line led by Masaaki Rosanjin in the sixty-fifth minute, after Ochiyo had scored his second (the team's third) of the match, then the odds were in their favor to tie, and would have certainly knocked Kipan down from its dominating first place in the standings into second."

Shiro jumped in, "but that wouldn't really matter since both the Sunset Sea Islands and the Kipanese Islands are both in the quarterfinals by virtue of their gained points."

"Correct, but we have to remember that these matches are as much about the game as it is about national pride. The Shukuro have flat out exceeded any or all expectations set by the pundits, including myself. We would have totally okay with them being in the fourth or fifth place in the standings and made it to the semifinals - particularly due to the squad still relatively new and the coach leading the team for the first time ever. But its evident we were all wrong about this team's potential. They are the team. The trifecta in the front midfield and the duo forwards has squashed pretty much everyone they've faced and they deserve the ranking they're in today."

Kenji added one further point, "Ochiyo has absolutely stepped up. He was already a great player when he joined the team but he's outstanding. He may not be the official captain, but he's for all intents, the true leader. Even Coach Tadao has said this one or more occasions, he trusts Yanagi to make the right moves and he's always delivered. It is this player and those in the trifecta that will get them the Cup. Mark my words, Kipan will be in the final matchup."

"Shibata-san, what was the worst moment for the team?"

"In this match, there were very few mistakes, besides the regular fouls, it was perhaps the first free kick the Blacksuns received in the twenty-third minute. Thu was making the kick and so we had a tight formation to attempt to block the ball. It was at this point they had almost gotten an opportunity to shoot a goal. Thu kicked it and it almost went in on the left-hand corner of the net but Denbe stopped it, only at the last second. Those types of situations must never happen. I do hope Tadao will run some additional drills for the goalie over the next few days. He's going to need to be on his toes against the Gallambrians next week."

"Kenji, are there are any particular players you think, other than the trifecta, that played a critical role in this match?"

He nodded his head, "certainly," he paused before continuing, "Hakaru Azuma, the young twenty-five-year-old who plays for the Dragonflies in Yokomoto. He was a bit of a mystery and didn't have much playing time in the K1 League last season but clearly, Tadao gave him a particular role in this match: keep the pressure on Hari Omar and he did that brilliantly several times, both at the twenty-fifth and thirty-fourth minutes when he tries to get goals due to Azuma, kicks them erratically at some times and in others, right into the lanes of our players. He should certainly have more opportunities in the lineup over the next two games, and hopefully, in the knockout rounds. I think he complements Kei Sekozawa when he's not on the pitch."

Shiro then spoke up, "though gambling is largely illegal here in the Kipanese Islands, we are getting tips from fairly reliable sources that over 900 million Ken in under-the-table bets were made. The State Treasury could have made so much from this one match if gambling was only made legal, do you think they should?"

"It's not my place to weed into this issue but I think from that number you just shared, and I'd assume that a good portion of the populace probably participated in one form or another, it is clear people want to see this happen. I can only imagine the amount raised in bets should the Shukuro do make it beyond the quarterfinals, and ultimately, the final match," said Kenji, and then Shibata responded briefly, "I think they needed to approve it yesterday, in fact, right at the beginning of the competition. I hope the National Assembly gets on this immediately."

"Both of you, in less than thirty seconds, now with the Blacksuns behind us, do you think the Gallambrians will beat the Shukuro?"

"No, no. They'll lose to us or tie. 2-2 at most. Both we and they are the best teams in the competition at the moment and this match shows that we're willing to do whatever it takes to maintain our place." Tenzai nodded, "I concur though I want to say that their forward, McLaren, he's good. Thu may be good but McLaren is a different beast altogether and though the Gallambrians have scored less overall, they do have a few surprises so if I were Tadao, I'd see what moves you can deploy to counteract him."

"We're all out of time. The Kipanese Shukuro play the Gallambrian Lions next week in Bromwich. As always you can livestream the match on NBK or listen to the play-by-play of the game on NBK Sports Radio 2. Until next time, goodbye."

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"...the Miyako Metropolitan Corporation today, after much delay following deliberations between itself and the finalist it had chosen for the Shintoko Redevelopment Project. As a reminder, it is estimated to cost over 32 billion Ken to fully actualize a new Shintoko train station (which serves both the Kipan Railway's high-speed train network but also acts as a major hub for the Miyako Kaanaiisiga systemalong with 50 additional buildings in the vicinity including one skyscraper that will be the tallest in both Miyako but the whole of the Kipanese Islands. The MMC has selected a joint venture between the Sato Corporation and Elergy of the Sunset Sea Islands. The two megacorporations have established a new entity that will be responsible for carrying out all efforts related to Shintoko: Ashi (called Murmei in the Sunset Sea Islands). Stocks for both Sato and Elergy rose 12.3 percent following the announcement. Construction on Shintoko Station will begin in January while planning for the first ten blocks will begin in earnest in consultation with the Metropolitan Corporation."

"...a bill has been submitted to the National Assembly that would request the President, Kazuo Yamazaki, to begin the process of seeking observer status in the Entente of Oriental States (EOS). The bill, authored by members of the President's Rikken Party, is the first of what political pundits believe to be the resurgence in Kipanese foreign policy that is angled towards greater cooperation with nations within the Thalassan Sea and Oriental Ocean. Such a focus has not been considered a harden approach since the conclusion of the War back in 1947. The President said that he was leaning towards approving the bill should it make it to his desk."

"...the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Masaki Kaneda, announced this afternoon that a formal exchange of embassies would be implemented between the Kipanese Islands and the State of Tikva. In his remarks, Kaneda stressed the Juddish people's dedication, resolve, and innovation in building the nation it is today from what it was prior to formal establishment in 1950. Embassies here in Miyako and abroad in Ayalon will officially begin operating by the end of the calendar year. Kaneda, in concluding his remarks, said that he is in the process of assembling a group of business leaders, government officials, and esteemed academics and scientists; to take a trip to Ayalon to further deepen ties and identify areas of scientific and economic cooperation."  

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"...the Shukuro have stunned the entire world by making it all the way to the SATAMFC Cup Finals. On December 20th, the Kipanese team will have a rematch against the Gallambrian Lions at Obon Stadium in the heart of Miyako. Star forward Yanagi Ochiyo will be leading the team alongside late added Shinzo Nagama. Wittier has been ablaze with tens of thousands of Wits wishing the national team well and commenting that they will win. Coach Tadao said he was cautiously optimistic that the national team would overtake their Marenesian rival and win the Cup. When the Lions played the Shukuro last, the home team beat them 1-0 in Bromwich. NBK will carry the match live and our own Shiro Shinobi will be commentating with former F.C. Miyako midfielder Kenji Tenzai."

"...President Kazuo Yamazaki has received the long-awaited gambling bill. It has been significantly modified from the original proposal. Horse racing, cycle racing, football, and motorsports will be permitted to be bet on the condition that municipalities and prefectures receive the majority of profits generated. Prior to the modifications, there were not enough votes to get it passed with solely votes from the governing Rikken Party. With resources flowing to local communities, the opposition was willing to join in the motion. Yamazaki has been on the fence on the matter and was initially considering to veto it but he has indicated that he will sign it. His spokesperson said that in response for its approval, he will consider lowering state support as it is widely expected that these new gambling opportunities could generate over 63 billion Ken per year. Ichiro Takahashi who is a high-ranking member of one of Miyako's Hogosha said that he was displeased that so much money would be taken out of the hands of lucky winners. Major Shiko Umezaki of the National Police criticized the Assembly for failing to provide any additional funds to combat a potential rise in crime that may stem from permitting even this level of gambling."

Edited by Kipan
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"...in late-breaking news, the Shukuro have beaten the Gallambrian Lions in a dramatic penalty shootout after both teams scored one goal each and with no change during extra time. Their victory has made them the winners of the SATAMFC Cup, the first time the team has won the title. Coach Tadao was ecstatic and said that he was extremely proud of his players including star forward Yanagi Ochiyo. He was awarded MVP and was confirmed to have been responsible for the most goals across all the teams in the competition. The twenty-six-year-old will now return to play in a few friendly matches with his home team - the Nakazami Diamonds - before returning to the national team to compete in the forthcoming Aurelian Cup which is slated to occur in the early months of 2019. Tadao said his team will be ready for the contest. According to UENA officials, a larger, global contest, the Nations, is yet to be announced but would occur sometime during the upcoming calendar year."

"...a spokesman for President Yamazaki's office confirms that he will be signing the EOS Observer Bill which cleared the National Assembly 345-106, with support from both the Rikken Party and several more ardent members of the Oppositional Mishu Party. Foreign Minister Kaneda had been previously notified by the supranational organization that Kipan would be offered such status. The bill's approval by Yamazaki gives Minister Kaneda authority to act on behalf of the State and formally accept such status. The Foreign Ministry will work with the EOS on fulfilling all remaining efforts that may be required."

"...from the floor of the Kipanese Stock Exchange in Miyako, the Sato Corporation saw its stock rise by 12.5% to a year-long high of K1345.12 per share. This increase comes following today's announcement by Asami Sato, the corporation's CEO saying that the automotive subsidiary (which continues to be one of the most important components) would begin producing an affordable electric version of its most purchased sedans. Sato also shared that additional resources would be allocated into the utilization of alternative energy sources including hydrogen in a future car."

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"...relations between the Kipanese Islands and Fulgistan have slowly but steadily improved since the transition from Imperial to democratic governance. President Yamazaki has made it a priority, alongside bettering ties with Oriental and Thalassan states, during his tenure. NBK has been informed that an official invitation has been extended by the President to General-Secretary Almas to visit the Islands at the beginning of spring. The Foreign Ministry stated that "the meeting of these two states will result in not only further burgeoning relations but open up new opportunities between the countries that will lead to long-term friendship and cooperation." The Ministry also said, "they believed the state visit would be productive for both parties..."

  "...in business news, the Sato Corporation announced the concept of a fuel cell electric car, currently denoted as the S6 in reporting documents. The affordable electric car discussed last month will be put on sale this summer at a cost of 34,400 Ken. Due to the short window between the start of production and initialization of sales, the Corporation has been actively working with municipalities [including the Miyako Metropolitan Corporation] on the installation of thousands of charging points throughout the country. When asked when the fuel cell car would ready for testing, a corporate spokeswoman said: "we anticipate testing of this concept by the beginning of 2020." CEO Asami Sato walked into the conference halfway through and shared that she would be directly involved in the development of the S6."

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