Japanese baseball to return on June 19 without fans
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Japanese baseball will return on June 19 without fans, Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner Atsushi Saito announced Monday, according to The Associated Press.

Saito's announcement comes after the state of emergency was lifted in Tokyo and Hokkaido by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"I hope we can provide some guidance for sports other than professional baseball," Saito said. "It is important to operate cautiously according to our guidelines."

Teams can begin practicing as early as June 2.

NPB's season was supposed to begin on March 20 but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Baseball has already returned in South Korea and Taiwan, but Major League Baseball remains on hiatus in North America as the league and its players' union continue to negotiate economics and safety protocols.

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Japanese baseball to return on June 19 without fans
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