Japan Closes Borders Amidst Omicron Outbreak, Implications Unclear for NJPW

Just as it appeared that the world had turned a corner in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus has now mutated into a new omicron variant. As scientists work diligently to determine the danger of this version of the virus, countries have preemptively shut down their borders in vigilance. This includes Japan, per AP.

The Associated Press reports that “Japan announced it would suspend entry of all foreign visitors” amidst the omicron variant. There have been reported outbreaks of the omicron variant in Portugal, Australia and Hong Kong since the variate was identified in South Africa days ago. At this moment, scientists aren’t sure as to whether or not this variant is more dangerous than previous genomes of the SARS-CoV-2 crisis that the world has been dealing with since the beginning of 2020.

The length of time that people will be unable to travel in and out of Japan is currently undetermined. It is worth noting that New Japan had recently began integrating some of their more primary talent to the Los Angeles-based New Japan Strong. This included a standout bout between Buddy Matthews and Kazuchika Okada at Battle in the Valley just over two weeks ago.

AP reports that Japan are once again implementing their previous pandemic protocol. Under that protocol, citizens could travel in-and-out for business, which is how superstars such as KENTA, Ren Narita, Yuji Nagata and Minoru Suzuki were able to appear Stateside. They did, though, have to go into quarantine upon their return to their native land. The country had lifted these protocols earlier this month.

As for New Japan, it remains to be seen whether or not this alters plans for the upcoming Wrestle Kingdom event in January. This variant may be a blip on the radar as Japan lifts its protocols swiftly, or, should the variant be as deadly as some may worry, the borders could be closed to outsiders for the foreseeable future. Should this alter Wrestle Kingdom plans, will keep you posted.