• Kyodo News

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The Central League on Thursday bowed to government pressure and decided to open its season on April 12, matching a delay already put in place by the Pacific League in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The Central League reached the decision at an emergency board meeting to yet again discuss its blueprint for the new season.

The CL had initially wanted to begin the new campaign on March 29 but the education ministry asked the league and Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner Ryozo Kato to consider starting its season the same day as the PL.

“We have decided to follow governmental guidance and, ultimately, take into consideration the feelings of the players,” said Tokyo Yakult Swallows owner Junsei Atarashi, who chairs the CL board.

“With the condition of the players in mind we had to decide quickly when to start the season so we have gone with April 12,” he said.

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