NJPW President Addresses Future
In a video posted to the New Japan Pro Wrestling YouTube, Harold Meij explained plans for the promotion’s future. Flanked by a number of NJPW trophies in his office, the President & CEO of NJPW thanked fans for their support. He also expressed his own disappointment at having to cancel many events this year. Meij then began to explain the three reasons NJPW will not be holding empty arena matches at this time.
Firstly, the health and safety of wrestlers and staff cannot be guaranteed at this time. The rates of infection in cities like Tokyo are simply too high to be ignored. NJPW management believes that even with no fans in attendance, holding matches presents an unnecessary amount of risk. Secondly, arenas in Japan are owned by the municipal and prefecture governments. Therefore, they must remain closed, in accordance with the declarations by the Japanese government. NJPW does not own an arena from which they can hold their own events. And lastly, the pandemic has put corporations under closer scrutiny than ever before. NJPW feels now more than ever that they have a responsibility to fans and to the public, not to hold matches at this time.
“To hold empty arena events during this time would reflect badly on ourselves and our industry. We will not trade our reputation as a positive force for social good, even in the wake of harsh economic realities. It is the goodwill we have fostered with our audience, our partners, and society, which allowed Wrestle Kingdom 14 to become a tremendous success. That goodwill must be protected at all costs.”
The CEO then briefly discussed the new content available on the New Japan World streaming service and the new merchandise available to purchase.
Plans Moving Forward
Meij then began to explain the roadmap towards bringing back live NJPW content. Empty arena events will be the first step, but only when the state of emergency has been lifted, new cases begin to fall, and arenas can be disinfected. Once these conditions are met, NJPW will hold matches in Japan and in the NJPW Dojo in Los Angeles. This will be followed by holding events in arenas at half capacity. Fans will be subject to temperature checks upon entry, masks will be compulsory, and seating will be in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Additionally, wrestlers and staff will be subject to rigorous health checks.
“New Japan Pro Wrestling will be back soon,” Meij said in his closing statement. “Stronger and prouder than ever.”
You can watch the statement from the NJPW CEO here
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