New Japan Pro Wrestling has not produced a live event since February 26th, 2020. The New Japan Cup, Wrestling Dontaku, and the Best of the Super Juniors tournament have been canceled.
NJPW President Harold Meij recently updated fans on the company’s roadmap to returning to live events. Meij stated 3 reasons why the company has not produced “empty-arena” shows.
“The first and foremost reason has been to protect the health and safety of our wrestlers and staff,” Meij said.
“Data has clearly shown high-levels of infection within cities like Tokyo. Therefore we believe to stage events, even empty-arenas, involves a level of unnecessary risk.”
Meij then noted the second reason why they don’t run empty arena shows is due to unavailability of the venues.
“As the pandemic has escalated, these venues have closed their doors even to empty-arena presentations.”
Meij then stated the 3rd reason they have not produced events during the pandemic is NJPW’s Corporate Social Responsibility.
“New Japan is an industry leader both in Japan and worldwide,” Meij continued. “With that position comes a great responsibility. As the global society holds a magnifying glass up to us, it behooves New Japan to act to the highest possible ethical standards.”
NJPW’s Roadmap to Return
Meij also mentioned the steps NJPW will take in order to return to producing live events. The first step will be to produce empty-arena shows when it is safe to do so.
“This step will be taken when and only when the state of emergency restrictions are lifted, the number of new coronavirus infections declines and when matches can take place in a properly disinfected and safe setting.”
He then noted that matches would then take place both in Japan and at the LA Dojo.
Meij then said the next step would be to allow fans back to the shows under certain conditions. Temperature checks and masks would be mandatory for fans attending. Wrestlers and staff would undergo rigorous testing and venues would be properly disinfected, spaces left between seats and there will be increased ventilation.
The video featuring NJPW President Harold Meij can be viewed below: