Nagase-Kenko Corporation and Markwort Sporting Goods Company Enter into U.S. Distribution Agreement

Tokyo — January 11, 2005 — Nagase Kenko Corporation (NKC) announced today that it has entered into a distribution agreement with the Markwort Sporting Goods Company, a St. Louis-based firm. This arrangement will help to provide U.S. and Canadian team dealers and retailers with better access to the full line of Kenko baseball, softball and other sporting goods products.

“Markwort is perhaps the premier sporting goods distributor in the U.S., and we are extremely pleased to enter into a relationship that will strengthen Nagase Kenko’s ability to respond to the growing number of inquiries we have been receiving from teams, dealers and sporting goods stores across the United States and Canada”,” noted Yasuhiko Nagase, Executive Vice President of NKC.

“Nagase Kenko and Markwort both have a 70+ year tradition of promoting the benefits of youth sports participation and we look forward to forming an alliance that will allow us to showcase their extensive and highly reputable product line,” commented Herb Markwort, Jr., President of Markwort Sporting Goods Company.

About the Nagase Kenko AirSafety Baseball™’:

Nagase-Kenko’s all-rubber AirSafety Baseball™ was first introduced in Japan over seventy years ago. It is designed to compress upon impact to absorb shocks and reduce injury. The surface features an aerodynamic design and a raised seam to simulate the characteristics, flight and bounce of a regulation baseball. Available in three sizes and weights to meet the needs of younger children and to facilitate their use in pitching machines, the Kenko baseball is the official licensed baseball of International Baseball Federation National Programs and many other youth programs around the world.

In addition to being used by many teams in North America and Japan, the Kenko Air Safety Baseball™ is the official youth baseball for the Confederacion Panamericana de Beisbol (COPABE), Mexican (FEMEBA) and Brazilian Youth Baseball, Italian Baseball Federation, Baseball Federation of Asia (BAF) and the Victorian Baseball Association of Australia.

About Nagase Kenko Corporation:

Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Nagase Kenko Corporation is a global, multi-line sporting goods company. In addition to its AirSafety and Universal Regulation baseballs, NKC markets a wide range of sporting good products and services through its Team Sports and Tennis, Sports Flooring and Gymnastics Equipment and International Sales and Marketing divisions.

Presently employing a staff of over 250 individuals, NKC maintains four Japanese manufacturing facilities and three regional sales offices in Osaka, Fukuoka and Hokkaido. It also maintains a growing network of agents, distributors and representatives who help to manage its international sales and marketing and promotional activities.

About Markwort Sporting Goods Corporation

Markwort Sporting Goods Company ( has been in business since 1931. It is a premier distributor/manufacturer of sporting goods equipment and accessories, with office and warehouse space in St. Louis, MO. Markwort sells all the traditional best-selling items preferred by sporting goods dealers and their customers, like baseballs, softballs, gloves and mitts, protective equipment, batter’s gloves, uniforms, socks, laces, glove oil and training accessories

For more information on NKC, Kenko products, services and sports marketing programs, please visit