Japan High School Baseball Championship Canceled

Sports Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, May 20 (Jiji Press)--The Japan High School Baseball Federation decided on Wednesday to call off this summer's national championship, due to the coronavirus crisis, marking the first cancellation of the hugely popular annual sporting event since the end of World War II.

The 102nd national high school baseball championship at Hanshin Koshien Stadium in the city of Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, was scheduled to begin on Aug. 10. Regional qualifying tournaments, originally planned between late June and early August, have also been called off.

"The cancellation is necessary to prevent novel coronavirus infections from spreading and protect the health and safety of players and audiences," the federation said.

This year's national spring invitational tournament in March at the same ballpark, a holy site for high school baseball players, was also canceled because of the epidemic.

Previously, the summer championship event was canceled in 1918 due to riots and in 1941 in the lead-up to Japan's participation in the war. It is the first time for both the spring and summer tournaments of the same year to be called off, except suspensions in 1942-1945, during the war.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press