Summer Koshien organizers consider cancelation due to virus

Organizers of Japan's National High School Baseball Championship are mulling the possibility of canceling this summer's tournament in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic, a source familiar with the matter said Friday.
According to the source, the Japan High School Baseball Federation will discuss whether to cancel the Aug. 10-Aug. 25 event at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, when it holds a board meeting on Wednesday.
The baseball federation called off the national invitational tournament in March for the first time since it was established in 1924, and it considers the staging of this summer's meet a challenging prospect.
Due to the situation with the virus, it remains unclear when students will be able to resume training in some areas even though the Japanese government lifted its state of emergency declaration for 39 of the country's 47 prefectures on Thursday.
"There are many hurdles (to hosting the meet). Players have not been able to train much as compared to before the invitational tournament," the source said.
In order for the meet to go ahead as scheduled, the regional qualifications will need to begin by mid-July.
A total of 49 teams from 47 prefectures were scheduled to take part in the 102nd edition of the annual summer tournament.
In February, the education ministry asked education boards across the country to close schools as part of efforts to contain the outbreak, prompting many to adhere to the request.
The Japanese government declared a one-month state of emergency until May 6 for seven urban areas hit hard by the virus in early April. It then expanded it to the entire nation on April 16 before extending it to May 31.
Schools nationwide closed to prevent the virus from spreading, stopping baseball players from training. Several other major high school meets have also been canceled.