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Japanese baseball is ready to swing with return of NPB

Delayed by COVID-19, league gets underway but with empty stadiums

TOKYO -- The Nippon Professional Baseball league is starting up again today much to the happiness of the millions of fans who follow Japan's national sport. It marks a partial return to normality as the nation slowly reopens after a long period of voluntary lockdown.

"We've caused a lot of problems and worry for the players, staff and, first and foremost, the fans by constantly changing the schedule," NPB Commissioner Atsushi Saito said in a recent online news conference. "But we hope to provide encouragement to the public ... and also give guidance to other sports."

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