The Japan Times has been sending the best speller of Japan’s English spelling contest to the United States to compete in the U.S. national finals every year since 2010.

But this year, the spread of the novel coronavirus forced the 11th Japan Spelling Bee, which was originally scheduled to be held in Tokyo on March 7, to be canceled. The Japan Spelling Bee, sponsored by the English daily, is the only spelling contest in the country officially endorsed by the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the U.S.

The unfortunate decision follows the announcement by Scripps to cancel the national finals in Maryland. This year marks the first time since World War II that it has canceled the national finals since the program’s inception in 1925.