• Kyodo

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Japan’s renowned summer high school baseball championship will be held without spectators in principle when it opens next month in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the organizers said Wednesday.

The National High School Baseball Championship, running for about two weeks in western Japan, will only be held in front of people related to the schools playing in a game and tickets will not be sold to the general public, the organizers said.

The long-standing summer meet at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, has been one of the most popular sports events in Japan, with young players attracting attention before turning pro.

After canceling the summer tournament last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Japan High School Baseball Federation had planned to hold this year’s meet with spectators by implementing sufficient anti-COVID-19 steps.

However, the federation decided to change its policy during a meeting on Wednesday, as the country continues to wrestle with a spike in infections and the Tokyo Olympics, which will open Friday, will take place behind closed doors at most venues.

The spring invitational high school tournament, another iconic meet organized by the federation, was held with a limited number of fans this year.

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