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View Full Version : Massive Earthqake in Japan- Will this affect Worlds?(threads merged)



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numbers123
03-13-2011, 08:50 PM
I wish the ISU would just tell us now yay or nay. That makes me think there's some talk of moving it, because with the situation in Japan like it is right now, it can't possibly be in Tokyo safely so wouldn't they just say outright if they were cancelling?

I think that the talk of moving Worlds has to do more with the fans thoughts than the ISU thoughts that it could be moved. I believe that part of the reason for the delay in announcement is to do a thorough assessment of the situation. We forget that Japan is a large country, that there is some distance between Tokyo and the main area impacted. Can we leave the assessments to the people that are in the know?

Moving an event as big as this is a huge nightmare. Even if a venue is available, hotel space is available, airports could handle the need for more air travel, the entire set up is a huge pain. I doubt that the small number of people who would volunteer in the new host country would replace the organized volunteer schedule, etc. And just because the US seems accessible to the North Americans suggesting placing the event on the NA continent, doesn't mean that it is easy for other people to obtain visas or travel is easy.

I intensely dislike the panic, the world is ending, reporting/speculation that people are doing. The talk of food rationing, gas rationing and power rationing must be tempered with the natural instinct of people to hoard what they think they might miss if they didn't grab all that they could at the time. If you think something will be in short supply, your instinct is to grab all you can for you and your family. It only makes sense that rationing is one of the solutions

Dragonlady
03-13-2011, 09:00 PM
This is incorrect. Train and subway services in Tokyo are operating and have been since yesterday. Traffic is not in a constant state of utter chaos (well unless you are talking about normal Tokyo traffic :lol: ).

That's good to hear. Mevrouw talked about the difficulties of getting to the airport with no rail service available yesterday, but that was in the wee, small hours of the morning.

Debrah
03-13-2011, 09:18 PM
I think it's the threat of power failures, and the need for rolling blackouts that may be the single biggest factor leading to possible cancellation of the skating event in Tokyo.

Camera's can't roll or broadcast, skater's can't practice, or perform in the dark, the in- person-audience can't appreciate, officials can't party, make deals, or judge in blackout circumstances!

Even if one is able to overlook and excuse all the other potential risks to health and personal safety, taken by everyone who has a stake in the Tokyo event( whatever that stake is), all of them willing to go ahead with a "damn the torpedo's" type bravado, then my question is still -where do you personally stand, and would you feel the same way if your life and safety, or the life of someone you love/care about was directly involved in the decision to go ahead as planned, if that's what ISU bigwigs decide to do on Monday, have you carefully considered all the facts and are you confident you are right in your decision making process and are you ready to face dire consequences if you are wrong?

As a Canadian figure skating fan I am invested in this year's championship, we have a strong World team and medals are a good possibility. I have friends attending too who are even more invested in the event. The fearful side of me says any risk is too much, I prefer to see Chan, and company hale and hearty and ready to fight for medals in Sochi, and my friends skate, judge, applaud efforts, than risk life and limb fighting, wheeling dealing, applauding for an aurgueably less prestigious one in Tokyo! In any case I have to think that the overly stressful conditions may negatively impact that hoped for result anyway. Most Canuks are not familiar with earthquake and tsunami threats, just dealing with long plane flights under post 9/11 security stresses, and unfamiliar food, lodging, and culture was to be adventure enough without adding in the problems Japan is now facing. Yet I know how devastating it would be for myself, the team and my friends, if the event itself is cancelled this year. Then again even more stresful it would be should the Tokyo event go ahead as planned, is the risk worth the reward, skater's may be a brave bunch, but should they or their fans have to face all these challeges just to compete for a medal or a ranking, or act as witness in a sporting event? It's one thing to have to deal with things as an inhabitant of the disaster zone, or its surrounding area, another one entirely if you deliberately choose to put yourself in harm's way, if you had the choice to avoid it altogether. If the venue and time table is changed somehow, yeah, everyone will still be scrambling to adapt, the chaos of change disrupting what everyone was hoping for, though at least the life threatening risks would be considerably lessened and that stress would be off the table.

I realize the loss of vasts amount of money, time and hard work involved in hosting such a huge and anticipated event will be enormous and that is sad indeed. One has to carefully weigh the risk, versus reward, as the pay off for all the hard training hours and sacrifices made for those acutally competing, or attending the event.

Eveyone involved has a different and compelling agenda, or opinion, as to what should be done. I am fearful that the public good, skater's, officials, fans welfare, is not always at the top of the list for the "powers that be" in deciding if these things go on or not; Money, how to make it and keep it, is always more of a priority. Keep in mind that those in power, who are making decisions it is they who must decide what is for the greater good of all concerned and live with the decision once made and whose wrath or contempt, they are most willing to face, should the path they take, not turn out to be the best one. People do crazy things for money or promise of glory and pleasure. My cautionary tale is to take time to think things through and remind self when coming down on where you stand and exactly who to put your trust in, that sometimes it's usually the self-serving agenda's, not the ones serving other's like the public trust, that have the most weight. People are reluctant to shoot themselves in the foot, even if it doing so would save others losing their lives...

The federations and many fans might have, or still be considering risking people's lives from "inevitable after shocks, or much smaller but still possible risks of nuclear fallout, or viral outbreaks from decomposing bodies and garbage till cleanup is effected, or not being able to provide enough clean drinking water, or ability to transport and store food properly," because they want to support Japanese interests, or one's own based on how they see the situation. Fine, Can you live with yourself if things don't go as you hope?

People may want to trivialize the inevitable food, water, gasoline shortages, transportation or lodging difficulties, the after shock and nuclear and viral issues but all these things are inherent to destination, even one outside of disaster zone, such as Tokyo is. Still problems are likely to be visible even in Tokyo due to disruption and choas in these other more devasted areas. I applaude the " life should go on mentality" which is necessary for the people of Japan in order to overcome their present adversity. After all that approach is the the only way for any country to keep order and to deal with any type of disaster scenario it has in order to survive and overcome the ordeal.

That said, how smart is it to be willing to run inside a still smoking structure, yeah, the fire may be out, but unless you are trained to deal with such a crisis, one untrained for such things simply doesn't know what to avoid to stay safe, or indeed what to do if a hot spot should flare back up!

People who live in quake prone areas are used to dealing with these issues, not so, a lot of the skater's and fans who would be way out of their comfort zone anyway, but imagine, if something does happen during the event, and these unprepared folks can't communicate properly to find out even what exit to take, or where to go for aid. Then again nothing may happen and then everyone will whine and wring hands about cancelling for nothing. What to do, what to do. My choice is to err on side of caution and not hold event in 10 days in Tokyo...or indeed skating events any where in the fault line area for next year or so, when other parts of world are less likely to be prone to earthquake problems, other ones maybe, but why would one knowingly cliff dive onto hidden rocks, when you can safely choose to swim elsewhere in sharkfree, rock free, pool, with a well stocked swim up bar, a location with lots of available cabanas, beach blankets, and pool boys to see to your every desire, before, during or after the competition... Perhaps karma for ISU always following the money, instead of spreading the love around more fairly, shooting the dice one too many times by holding so many of its major skating events in Asia's ring of fire zone.

The situation sucks. It's a no win scenario. Captain Kirk ain't around to save the day. Speedy is man in hotseat. Stakes are high. Young lives are involved. My friend's lives are involved. Careers are involved.

I pray skate god's give PTB wisdom and enough resources to make best decision possible. I pray for people of Japan, that they find the strength to deal and overcome this disaster. I pray for those involved with, or attending Worlds who will have to live with the ISU's decision, whatever it is.

PDilemma
03-13-2011, 09:24 PM
Why would that be easier? Sounds complicated for the coaches, officials and judges as well as less attractive for the audience. If the Worlds could be held instead of the WTT, the extra two week days probably would not be a problem for the arena or for the hotels, since they risk lots of cancellations now. Just dreaming...

There are different callers and judges for each discipline, so that's not an issue. And how many coaches coach across disciplines if singles is one time/venue and dance/pairs a different one? Difficult for the audiences, yes. But that's going to be the case no matter what they do.

The only choices that aren't going to require a lot of flexibility are canceling completely or going ahead as planned. And I agree with rfisher about the first option--skating is not the same as it was in 1961. Cancellation will have a very negative impact on skaters and coaches in ways that it did not 50 years ago.

victoriaheidi
03-13-2011, 09:38 PM
There are different callers and judges for each discipline, so that's not an issue. And how many coaches coach across disciplines if singles is one time/venue and dance/pairs a different one? Difficult for the audiences, yes. But that's going to be the case no matter what they do.

The only choices that aren't going to require a lot of flexibility are canceling completely or going ahead as planned. And I agree with rfisher about the first option--skating is not the same as it was in 1961. Cancellation will have a very negative impact on skaters and coaches in ways that it did not 50 years ago.

Yeah, logistically speaking, I think coaches and officials would not have an issue with two weekends (in the sense that they'd each only work for one weekend). I hope that's feasible-I mean, I can't think of any regulation that would prevent Worlds from being held in multiple "event" sessions.

judiz
03-13-2011, 09:47 PM
I really can't believe a decision wasn't made yet. The country is experiencing aftershocks as high as 6.1 which are being felt in Tokyo. Another nuclear plant is losing power and may be experiencing a problem with its cooling system. There are thousands of people buried under debris, those lucky enough to survive have no food, no clean water and many are homeless. Anyone traveling to Japan now should be part of the search and rescue teams or going to check up on family living in Japan.


* After 911, major league baseball cancelled all games for several weeks, not just the ones scheduled in the cities where the attacks took place out of respect to the nation as a whole. The same courtesy should be extended to Japan.

PDilemma
03-13-2011, 09:49 PM
I really can't believe a decision wasn't made yet. The country is experiencing aftershocks as high as 6.1 which are being felt in Tokyo. Another nuclear plant is losing power and may be experiencing a problem with its cooling system. There are thousands of people buried under debris, those lucky enough to survive have no food, no clean water and many are homeless. Anyone traveling to Japan now should be part of the search and rescue teams or going to check up on family living in Japan.

I wonder if the delay is not because the ISU is pursuing alternative plans to hold the competition.

Asli
03-13-2011, 09:53 PM
I think the last thing they need right now is more tourists in the country to worry about. if they are already having a hard time getting fresh produce and petrol I can't image sending skaters there that need to be catered for and looked after.

Let them use the resources and attention to help the Japanese people that were worst effected by te quake and tsunami.


After the 1999 earthquake in Turkey - which was smaller, but probably more devastating in terms of loss of lives and homes - people were desperate for tourists to continue coming. Tourism means much needed cash flow into the country. The whole Mediterranean coast was totally unaffected by the earthquake and is served by different airports, yet travel advisories against the whole of Turkey meant that tens of thousands of reservations were cancelled and no last-minute tourists came, from the middle of August on. :(

My former colleagues were also frustrated because Turkish universities were having to cancel conferences taking place 1000 km. away from the earthquake area and not on any fault line. A huge amount of work was thrown away for nothing and the country lost another 70 million dollars just from cancelled conferences, if I remember correctly.

Japanese posters can correct me if I'm wrong, but shunning Japan now and in the near future won't help the Japanese people. The earthquake areas don't need the attention of all 125 million Japanese - the vast majority will continue doing their jobs - and tourism means cash flow into Japan.

bek
03-13-2011, 09:55 PM
Yeah, logistically speaking, I think coaches and officials would not have an issue with two weekends (in the sense that they'd each only work for one weekend). I hope that's feasible-I mean, I can't think of any regulation that would prevent Worlds from being held in multiple "event" sessions.

I would think logestically it would make the event more feasible. Really singles could maybe moved to WTT, and it probably wouldn't be THAT much bigger of an event than the event that was just planned. If it was just singles. They already have some broadcasting rights established, sponsors etc. And the Japanese skaters/fans would have an opportunity to see their skaters win at home!

They could maybe two weeks after that hold the Pairs/dance or two weeks before. If it was held in Beijing, that would mean that those who needed to attend both wouldn't have to travel half way around the world. And the organizers would have a much smaller competition to plan for than a full worlds.

numbers123
03-13-2011, 09:55 PM
Japanese posters can correct me if I'm wrong, but shunning Japan now and in the near future won't help the Japanese people. The earthquake areas don't need the attention of all 125 million Japanese - the vast majority will continue doing their jobs - and tourism means cash flow into Japan.

I am not in Japan, but this is one of the most level headed posts I have seen. :respec:

judiz
03-13-2011, 09:56 PM
http://bit.ly/eFHwWq Phil Hersh


Jo-Ann Barnas: ISU needs to postpone world figure skating event in Japan - http://ow.ly/4dwSv

vesperholly
03-13-2011, 10:00 PM
I really can't believe a decision wasn't made yet. The country is experiencing aftershocks as high as 6.1 which are being felt in Tokyo. Another nuclear plant is losing power and may be experiencing a problem with its cooling system. There are thousands of people buried under debris, those lucky enough to survive have no food, no clean water and many are homeless. Anyone traveling to Japan now should be part of the search and rescue teams or going to check up on family living in Japan.

Again, there has barely been 48 hours since this happened. Give the ISU a little time to work out the logistics. And manufacturing :drama: isn't helping ...


* After 911, major league baseball cancelled all games for several weeks, not just the ones scheduled in the cities where the attacks took place out of respect to the nation as a whole. The same courtesy should be extended to Japan.

MLB has something like 9,347 games in its season, it wasn't the World Series, and furthermore, not all sports canceled their games. Life must go on at some point. If it was NHK Trophy or Four Continents, I'm sure the ISU wouldn't hesitate to immediately cancel the event. But canceling Worlds has major ramifications on the sport that need to be considered, and it's not even scheduled to begin for more than a week. I'm not saying that the ISU shouldn't postpone and/or cancel Worlds, but it is an extremely complicated decision that should not be rushed.

RUKen
03-13-2011, 10:02 PM
I really can't believe a decision wasn't made yet... * After 911, major league baseball cancelled all games for several weeks, not just the ones scheduled in the cities where the attacks took place out of respect to the nation as a whole. The same courtesy should be extended to Japan.

There were no flights in the U.S. for three days after the 9/11 attacks, so it would have been impossible to move teams from one city to another. It took a few more days after flights resumed to get all of the standed people to their destinations. Major League Baseball resumed after about a week, as soon as travel was back to normal.

If it is possible to hold the World Championships in Japan or elsewhere this year, I think that the best show of support and respect would be for the event to be held and the ISU to designate a certain portion of the profits to disaster relief in Japan. Canceling the event outright may be the only practical option, but it is not necessarily the most respectful or helpful.

kia_4EverOnIce
03-13-2011, 10:05 PM
whole post

I don't agree with all your points, but I agree with the point that electricity shortage and problems with people coming for worlds not used to aftershocks are two of the main issues in Tokyo and that's my objection also to Asli:


The earthquake areas don't need the attention of all 125 million Japanese - the vast majority will continue doing their jobs - and tourism means cash flow into Japan.

Then, of course, ISU will be have to face all the economic issues, whether they re-schedule or cancel Worlds, and that's maybe is even tougher to manage, becuase of the many interests involved...

Mevrouw
03-13-2011, 10:14 PM
I was in Tokyo and rode out the quake on my hands and knees. I have been posting in SS but some people have asked that I repost out here as I know what conditions were like at the time and for the next two days.

I am sure that Tokyo CAN host the Worlds. What's a couple of thousand more people in hotels among the 70 million in the Tokyo area? The only restriction would be the radiation danger and people on FSU who know something about radiation say that it is not what CNN is reporting. If it were, the Civil Defense people would say what can go on or not.

Tokyo was very impressive in springing into action. Trains were stopped and passengers evacuated. Buses and road work kept going - I saw them. Taxis were impossible to get and traffic extremely heavy so we walked for two hours back to the hotel.

Remember that I was AT Yoyogi Stadium 20 minutes after the quake and saw no damage. We had been visiting the shrine in the park across the road when it hit.

In just 20 minutes, police were everywhere and closed off the elevated highway access. Fire and ambulances were responding as needed but the hospital right beside the Hilton did NOT have an increased number of sirens that evening.

We walked by a number of skyscrapers on the 2-hour trek home and each one had people in hard hats doing evaluations, areas had been set up for water and food and places to stay if people couldn't get home. There was a press conference going on at the Municipal Buildings already. NO visible damage anywhere.

Tokyo can manage a few thousand skaters, coaches etc and fans among the 70 million residents. People in my hotel who were due to stay for 2 more weeks were staying and normal operations had resumed. The only thing we actually noticed about the hotel aside from sprinklings of plaster dust in our hall where drywall seams had split, was that the hotel clearly did not get its usual delivery of strawberries for Saturday breakfast. Everything else was as usual.

The highways are now open - drove them to Narita on Sunday morning and actually made in it 57 minutes instead of the usual 90 minutes to 2.5 hours. the trains (except the Narita Express) are already running, the hotels are in full operation (we were in 3 on our walk on Saturday) and although traffic was lighter than usual on Saturday, people were out and going places at Shinjuku Station. People were still arriving at Narita today so flights are getting back to normal. Ours left right on time on Sunday.

All these areas are where the skaters will be - about 1.5 miles from Yoyogi. Unless the radiation danger increases, Worlds should be fine. And Civil Defense people will say if that danger increases. They are doing evacuations where necessary close to the reactors and working to take care of the population nearby. That is all about 250 miles to the north of Tokyo.

All we can do is wait to see, and the skaters should keep on training as though it IS going to happen.

Japan's resonse was VERY impressive. THERE WAS NO PANIC AND very little chaos after the first few minutes. People resumed visiting the shrine where we were and buying ice cream for there children.

Walking home, people were resigned but not panicky. Although Saturday's traffic was congested like a rush hour and you really could not get to the airport, there was no chaos. The elevated highways were closed pending inspection of overpasses and bridges so people had to try surface roads through small suburbs to reach the airport. One man we met gave up after 10 hours in a taxi. I was glad we didn't even try because my flight was cancelled but some flights left Narita the day after the quake.

We'll see how things go on Monday when people go back to work and commuters come back, but I expect things to go pretty smoothly. Tokyo did a great job of responding and an even better job of having building codes that kept the skyscrapers intact. The magnitude of what we felt was larger than 5 but probably not greater than 6, according to people who have been in other quakes. Aftershocks were like the quake that Toronto had last summer -maybe about 3.0. People here are so used to aftershocks that conversations don't even hesitate. Aftershocks may be 6+ at the point of origin but that's up by the epicentre, not in Tokyo. You just suddenly become aware that it feels as though you are on a boat. They last from 10 to 30 seconds and can be distressing.