Report: NJPW Prioritising Health Over Money During Coronavirus Pandemic

All employees are still receiving their full salary and benefits...

Since the coronavirus pandemic started to affect Japan, New Japan Pro-Wrestling has cancelled all of their shows and they are not scheduled to return until May 12 with the start of The Best Of The Super Juniors. NJPW and other promotions also had a meeting with the Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Hiroshi Hase earlier this week as they advocated for the government to provide COVID-19 testing kits and compensation to the smaller companies to help them pay employees.

Other measures NJPW has put in the place during the coronavirus pandemic were revealed earlier today by Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. He reported that all wrestlers and staff in the promotion were still receiving their full salary and benefits even though New Japan is generating "virtually no revenue." NJPW is heavily reliant on running live events as more than half of their income comes from ticket sales and merchandise sold at the arena. 

Even in private conversations, the promotion has made it clear that the health of their employees is their top priority and they will not consider running live shows until the safety of their performers can be guaranteed.  

NJPW President Harold Meij published an open letter to fans earlier this week, which you can read below: 

"As I'm sure you’re aware, last week we announced the cancellation of the remainder of the events on the Road to Dontaku Tour. Our latest 12 cancellations from April 19 in Korakuen to May 4 in Fukuoka join other events already cancelled from March 1 onward.

"I know how much of a disappointment this is to fans who were looking forward to attending these events. Ticket holders are all being refunded however, and as we closely monitor the situation with regards to events after May 4, ticket sales have been suspended or delayed accordingly to make the process as easy as possible for fans.

"NJPW have been taking the ongoing global situation very seriously from an early stage. Currently over 90% of our employees are working from home as we continue to do our civic duty as a company to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We, like you, are disappointed and frustrated at not being able to present the best professional wrestling on the planet on a live basis at the current moment in time.

"As a result, we want you to join us in preventing the spread of this disease. Please wash your hands and gargle regularly. If you’re in essential work, we sincerely appreciate you and ask that you take precautions to stay safe and healthy; otherwise, please stay home and watch the wealth of content available as part of the NJPW World Together Project, from archived matches with English commentary for the first time to the fantastic My Dad Is A Heel Wrestler movie. Together we can make a powerful tag team that can kick out of this, or any other crisis.

"We are always proud of the greatest fan base in the world. Particularly in this uncertain environment, we are especially grateful to fans that have shown their support for New Japan Pro-Wrestling even without being able to see live events. Every Tokon Shop customer and NJPW World subscriber has our deepest gratitude, and the appreciation of every single NJPW staff member and wrestler.

"Make no mistake: we will get through this together. I firmly believe that the fighting spirit of New Japan Pro-Wrestling is one that can overcome any opposition. I look forward to the day the greatest wrestlers in the world can show that spirit in the ring once more."

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Journalist/Editor-in-Chief of Twitter: @theaidangibbons