The Japanese draft is a little different in scope and timing:
The NPB Draft occurs at the end of season in October and two different types of draft take place. The regular draft where teams select high school graduates, college graduates and industrial league players; and the ikusei player draft, for players for the Ikusei SystemThe post explains who is eligible and what they need to get signed up for the draft, of which there are several different categories. It breaks it down to high school, college, and industrial league players, which is much more involved in the criteria for the American draft.
One interesting note about the Japanese draft:
Player who refuse to enter the NPB Draft and elect to play overseas will not be eligible for the draft for three years if going overseas after high school, two years for all othersI can only assume this is a response to keeping the better younger players from signing minor league contracts in the states and getting into the minor league system.
We, of course, have a similar rule, even it only lasts for one year instead of the time period listed for the Japanese draft. They are obviously protecting their league, but it seems a little harsh to me. If a Japanese kid out of high school was lucky enough to be signed to play in the states, and only made it one year, then he is in essence banned for two years from playing in the Japanese leagues. Since they don't have a very viable minor league system, which is were the industrial leagues come in, it might not be much of an issue.
Interestingly enough, this is a new rule:
There’s also a new regulation known as the Tazawa Rule…The rest of the post covers the basics of the draft itself, which is much shorter than what happens in the states. Again, because they don't really have a minor league system that compares with ours.
You have to wonder if this might lead to the development of a minor league system in Japan, or if they are content to let it go the way it is?