Bushiroad Founder Takaaki Kidani: It Is NJPW's Responsibility To Assume Leadership During Pandemic

NJPW has shutdown operations since the coronavirus pandemic hit and though empty arena shows have been mentioned, nothing has been announced. NJPW has made it clear that the safety of performers and fans comes first, which is why events have not been held. 

Bushiroad, the parent company for NJPW, founder Takaaki Kidani recently spoke to Sports Illustrated about the company ceasing live events during the pandemic. 

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“Put simply, either an end to the pandemic, or alternatively establishing a strict and proper set of procedures for dealing with the virus, which we will ensure is implemented for the safety of our staff, performers and fans," he said. "When it comes to decisions that have to be made regarding empty arena matches, or bringing fans back to buildings, it’s absolutely New Japan Pro Wrestling’s responsibility to assume a position of leadership. I think that events with fans in attendance in the near future is challenging, [but] New Japan Pro Wrestling is considering empty arena matches at present.”

NJPW has continued to pay talent and employees during the pandemic despite not running live events and losing out on revenue from the shows. 

“It’s only right that New Japan Pro Wrestling should protect their fans and wrestlers as best they can, so cancellations were the natural decision to make. As for wrestler pay, we want every wrestler to be in the absolute best shape that they can be when matches return, and wrestlers should be able to focus on their training without worrying about how they’re making a living. I felt that this could be an opportunity for the Japanese professional wrestling industry to be able to organize together and present a united front. In times of crisis such as these, that solidarity is very important," he said.

Japan recently lifted its state of emergency and will allow empty arena sports to begin on June 19. You can find more information on the possibility of NJPW returning with empty arena events by clicking here.

As of now, NJPW has not made any announcement regarding the future of events. 

 

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