In the latest measure to protect players and fans at the national high school baseball championship, the tournament's governing body said Friday it will test out a midday interval this year to reduce exposure to the extreme summer heat.

On days with three games, a two-session format will see one or two morning games followed by an interval of some hours prior to the evening session, according to the Japan High School Baseball Federation.

File photo shows the opening ceremony of the national high school baseball championship at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, on Aug. 10, 2021. (Kyodo)

"It's abnormally hot," said Seibu Lions pitcher Kona Takahashi, who led Maebashi Ikuei to the 2013 summer championship. "Measures have to be considered for that. It's so important."

This year's tournament, the 106th, starts Aug. 7 at the iconic Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, near Osaka. The opening ceremony that day will start from 8:30 a.m. with the first game slated for 10 a.m., followed by the second game from 4 p.m. and third at 6:30 p.m.

The next two days will have two-game morning sessions followed by an evening game from 5 p.m. There will be no midday interval on days with four games.

High school baseball is hugely popular in Japan, with all games of the two major tournaments at Koshien, the spring invitational and the summer national championship, broadcast nationwide.

Due to dangerously high temperatures every summer, exceeding 35 C, the federation began discussing anti-heat measures, including a two-session format, in 2022.

To combat issues such as heat stroke and dehydration, last summer's national championship introduced a 10-minute "cooling time" after five innings, allowing players to get drinks and cool down in an air-conditioned space.

Related coverage:

Baseball: Shohei Ohtani goes 3-for-4 in Dodgers' loss to Nationals

Baseball: Triple Crown slugger Murakami moves forward on own terms

Baseball: Yoshida hits 1st homer of season, Red Sox beat Angels