Nippon Professional Baseball's opening day will not take place on April 24 as currently scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic, sources with knowledge of the matter indicated Thursday after a meeting of Central League team executives.
An official decision is expected on Friday when representatives of all 12 teams meet.
Both the Central and Pacific leagues were originally scheduled to open play on March 20, but after playing most of their preseason exhibitions behind closed doors on account of the coronavirus outbreak, that date was pushed back to April 24.
The six PL presidents agreed on Tuesday that given the current health situation and the fact that three pro baseball players have tested positive for the coronavirus, starting an opening day in April would be "difficult."
"We all understand the situation is getting worse," a source with knowledge of Thursday's CL meeting said.
Teams are now looking at scheduling the season's start sometime from the middle of May, with some of the 12 clubs already preparing for that eventuality. Since the coronavirus threat shows no signs of ending soon, further postponements are likely as is the possibility of not playing a full 143-game schedule.
Before the team representatives meet, baseball executives and their counterparts from Japan's pro soccer establishment, the J-League, will hold their fifth coronavirus countermeasure liaison meeting.