(2 December 2021) The ISU announced today that the 2021 Grand Prix Final will not be held in Osaka, Japan next week, releasing the following statement:
The ISU was informed by the Japan Skating Federation (JSF) that the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2021, scheduled to take place from December 9 – 12, 2021 in Osaka (JPN) cannot be held as planned.
Unfortunately, considering the complicated epidemic situation involving travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, safety concerns and logistical challenges, the organization of the event was extremely challenging. The Japan Skating Federation and the Local Organizing Committee tried their best to find solutions but ultimately concluded that, regrettably, they are unable to organize and hold the event as planned.
The ISU regrets that the hosting of the event is no longer possible in Osaka in December. The ISU will evaluate a possible postponement to hold the Event at the end of the season and will take a decision as soon as possible. The ISU thanks the Japan Skating Federation for their efforts and cooperation.
While details were not provided, one can infer that cancellation was due to Covid precautions related to the Omicron variant that was recently discovered. A day earlier the Japanese government announced that travel restrictions that had been recently somewhat relaxed would be tightened. Japanese airlines will not be taking reservations for flights to Japan through the end of December and flights have begun to be cancelled. Foreign carriers operating flights into Japan were also requested to stop taking reservations.
Additional restrictions are also being put in place within Japan in response to the Omicron variant.