The upcoming Spring Grand Sumo Tournament is unlikely to proceed as planned due to the growing coronavirus crisis, the Japan Sumo Association said Friday.
The JSA is mulling whether to cancel the tournament, scheduled for March 8 to 22 at Osaka's Edion Arena, or hold it behind closed doors.
"The situation is getting tougher. It seems impossible for the sumo association to hold events in the regular fashion," said former ozeki Kotokaze, a senior JSA official.
The Japan Sports Agency asked the sumo governing body to make changes to the tournament amid the current coronavirus outbreak, which has led to several sports events across the country and region being canceled, postponed or held in empty arenas.
The JSA's board of directors will meet Sunday in an extraordinary session to make a decision on the tournament.
"I think a range of views will be expressed at the board meeting. Many issues must be considered. It's a worrying situation," said Kotokaze, who heads the Oguruma stable in Tokyo.
Among the other sports feeling the impact of the coronavirus, Super Rugby side the Sunwolves will relocate two upcoming matches from Japan to Australia.
Their fixture against the Brumbies, originally scheduled for March 8 at Hanazono Rugby Stadium in Osaka Prefecture, will be played in Wollongong on March 6. Their March 14 meeting with the Crusaders at Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground in Tokyo will instead take place in Brisbane.
The Japan Wrestling Federation, meanwhile, said the Asian qualifying tournament for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for March 27-29 in Bishkek has been canceled after Kyrgyzstan placed quarantine restrictions on travelers from Japan and China.
Japan's LPGA tour has opted not to play its season-opening golf tournament in Okinawa, the March 5 to 8 Daikin Orchid Ladies, after initially deciding to hold the event without spectators.