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Japan's Senbatsu spring HS baseball tournament canceled over coronavirus fears

This file photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter on March 23, 2019, shows the opening ceremony for the 91st National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament, commonly known as "Senbatsu," at Hanshin Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture. (Mainichi/Tatsuya Onishi)

OSAKA -- The 2020 National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament, known commonly as "Senbatsu," has been canceled due to concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus, it was decided at an extraordinary meeting of its organizing committee on March 11.

    The 92nd edition of the tournament had been scheduled to begin on March 19 at Hanshin Koshien Stadium -- home field for Nippon Professional Baseball's Tigers -- in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan. It is the first cancellation of the annual Senbatsu tournament since the event was suspended from 1942 to 1946 due to the effects of World War II.

    The committee had already decided at a March 4 meeting to prepare for a tournament without spectators, and said it would have another discussion over the matter on March 11. As viral infections continued to spread across Japan, officials decided that it would be difficult to secure the safety of students and related parties.


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