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Japanese pro baseball set to consider June opening

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Atsushi Saito (left), the commissioner of Nippon Professional Baseball, speaks to reporters during a press conference in Tokyo about start of season. AFP

Japanese pro baseball set to consider June opening

The 12 Nippon Professional Baseball clubs have agreed to consider holding official games that were postponed to June or later – with a focus on playing behind closed doors – at an online meeting of their representatives on Thursday.

This would be the first time in history that official professional baseball games are played without any spectators.

The J-League also confirmed at an extraordinary joint executive committee consisting of representatives of 56 clubs across the country and others that it would prepare for resuming games without spectators after June.

At the sixth meeting of the NPB and J-League liaison conference on countermeasures against the new coronavirus on Thursday, a team of experts made the following recommendations: (1) It would be difficult to start official games during a declared state of emergency and to resume them; and (2) Even after the lifting of the emergency, it would be appropriate to have no spectators at first.

“We should play the games at any cost, and we want people to watch them at home on television and the internet,” NPB Commissioner Atsushi Saito said at a press conference. “There are no objections among the 12 teams to doing it without spectators at first.”

They will discuss the specific opening date after the Golden Week holidays in May.


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