On a day when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe admitted postponing the Tokyo Olympics may be unavoidable, medical experts suggested it could be possible for the top-flight Japanese baseball and soccer seasons to resume by the end of next month.
Nippon Professional Baseball and the J. League received advice Monday from medical experts during the fourth meeting of the joint panel that was formed to assess the impact of the coranavirus pandemic.
Mitsuo Kaku, a professor in infection control and prevention at Tohoku Medical and Pharmaceutical University, said the sports officials should be targeting a start date at the end of April.
“There’s one month until then, so I would like them to prepare as much as possible while looking at the situation,” Kaku said.
Both leagues had been targeting a return at the beginning of April.
NPB Commissioner Atsushi Saito said the revised timing would be OK “if the situation stays the same and our preparation is fully ready.”
J. League chairman Mitsuru Murai said soccer officials would have another meeting on Wednesday.
“It is difficult to forecast for the long-term because the situation is constantly changing,” Murai said. “If we decide it is difficult to resume matches at the beginning of April during the meeting, we will simulate dates in two-week intervals such as on April 18 and May 2.”