Publisher Atlus confirmed the region locking in a statement, claiming that the decision was made for business reasons and is not the start of a new policy.
"The last week brought with it news that Persona 4: Arena would effectively become the first PlayStation 3 system game to be region-locked. We can today confirm that this is true; the game will be region-locked in all its respective territories of release," reads the Atlus statement.
"As we've ascertained from your impassioned responses online, this is obviously a tremendous frustration for many fans.
"This is NOT the beginning of a new ATLUS policy, nor do we view it as a precedent or a slippery slope. If anything, your determination and dedication to what you believe in has certainly stood in the face of that."
With the North American version releasing within two weeks of its Japanese counterpart, Atlus said that the ability to import would affect global sales figures.
"The unforeseen consequence in all of this was that we had a version of our biggest game of the year releasing within a couple weeks in two territories, both identical in content, but at radically different price points.
"Importing, as great as it is for gamers who otherwise can't get access to a title, can also cannibalize the performance of a title in one territory to the benefit of another.
"While we're all one big ATLUS family, the reality is that the dramatic difference between the Yen and the Dollar makes for a dramatic difference in price. So the decision was made, perhaps at the expense of some of our fans, clearly at the frustration of many, to region-lock Persona 4 Arena," it continues.
Persona 4 Arena is a spinoff for the series that sees characters from both Persona 3 and Persona 4 battling in a 2D fighting game.
The game is being developed by Arc System Works - known for both the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue fighting game franchises.
A North American release was announced earlier this year, while a European port is expected to follow within a few weeks of its August 7 launch.