The new coronavirus outbreak cost Japan a pillar of its spring sporting scene on Wednesday as the Japan High School Baseball Federation canceled its national invitational tournament for the first time in history.

"This is a bitter decision," said Masahiro Maruyama, the chief executive of the Mainichi Shimbun and the tournament's chairman. "Our greatest priority has to be on safety.

"We are filled with a sense of regret over this unfortunate outcome," he said.