It may not be surprising, but it is still disappointing. The Wii U will indeed be region-locked, as have generations of Nintendo hardware before it, so you won't be able to play games imported from other regions on your shiny new gamebox.
If a strange and wonderful Japanese game catches your eye, you'd better hope some publisher decides to officially release it elsewhere, or the only way you'd be able to play it is buying a Japanese Wii U. Which is daft, of course. You won't be able to bypass publishers who take yonks to localise games and release them in the west, either. So it's all a big shame.
Microsoft and Sony's consoles are far more lenient, allowing publishers to lock particular games if they fancy but not forcing it on everyone.