The Japan High School Baseball Federation decided on Wednesday (May 20) to cancel this summer’s national tournament due to the Corona virus pandemic, meaning the nation’s largest amateur sporting event will not be held for the first time since World War II.

The National High School Baseball Championship, a two-week tournament broadcast nationwide, was scheduled to open on Aug. 10 at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture.

Organizers decided to cancel the summer high school baseball tournament during an online steering committee meeting. The decision will be made official at a board meeting later Wednesday.

Players line up at Hanshin Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, on Aug. 8 2017 for the opening of the National High School Baseball Tournament

This year’s spring tournament, scheduled for March, was canceled for the first time due to fears about the spread of the Corona virus. While the summer edition has been canceled twice in the past and not held for four years during the war, both tournaments have never been canceled in the same year.

The Japan High School Baseball Federation had been eyeing holding the event behind closed doors to reduce the risk of infection, but as many schools are either closed or holding classes online with club activities suspended, it became a challenge for all schools to compete in the regional championships at which teams would qualify for the summer Koshien.

The summer tournament features 49 schools, while 32 schools take part in the spring invitational.

Katsuhiro Miyamoto, a Kansai University economist, studied the economic impact the Corona virus pandemic is having on sports and said Tuesday (May 19) that the absence of high school baseball this year will result in an estimated 67 billion yen ($620 million) hit.


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