Start of Japan Pro Baseball Regular Season to Be Delayed

Sports

Tokyo, March 9 (Jiji Press)--The 12 member teams of the Central and Pacific leagues under the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization decided Monday to postpone the start of this year's regular season from March 20, due to the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Japan Professional Football League, or J.League, plans to extend the suspension period for its official matches because of the viral outbreak and aims to restart them on April 3.

The moves came based on a suggestion by a panel of infectious disease experts to delay official NPB and J.League matches at a meeting Monday of a joint committee set up by the two professional sport governing bodies to discuss countermeasures against the ever-spreading virus.

At a press conference after the meeting, Mitsuo Kaku, a professor at Tohoku Medical and Pharmaceutical University and a member of the expert panel, said that the panel is unsure whether the groups would be able to stop the virus from spreading at matches. "We suggested (that the organizations) delay (the official matches) and make thorough preparations," he added.

The decision to postpone the start of the 2020 regular season for professional baseball was made at a meeting of representatives from the 12 teams. The pro baseball regular season will begin with a delay for the first time since 2011, when the start was moved back from March 25 to April 12 in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press