The streets of Tokyo are darker these days. It's not only rolling blackouts, but restaurants, convenience stores and electronics shops are turning off their signs at night in hopes to conserve electricity.
The goal in conserving electricity is to divert it to the power grids in northeastern Japan that need it most. There are a series of new advertisements on television encouraging everybody to use less energy. Even in Western Japan, there is a concerted effort to reduce power consumption. As the New York Times reports, "jishuku" or "voluntary self-restraint" is becoming increasingly prevalent.
What does that mean for the Tokyo Game Show, an event with flashing lights, big screen televisions and demo kiosk after demo kiosk? The venerable game show is an energy drain. And even though it's held in September, it is believed the country could face up to six months of energy shortages while the damaged generators are fixed.
A whole series of game related events (and game releases) were canned this spring due to the earthquake. There has been speculation that the Tokyo Game Show could be in trouble due to the amount of energy consumed. Or if the event was held, it could be scaled back and subdued - or even be held without air conditioning. "Self-restraint" is the last thing one associates with the Tokyo Game Show. Imagine a TGS without air conditioning. Yuck.
In the short term, the Japanese economy is poised to take a hit, and jishuku won't exactly help. This could in turn mean some game companies cancel their TGS appearance. What's more, there are safety concerns about whether or not the Makuhari Messe, where TGS is held, suffered any structural damage during the earthquake and its numerous aftershocks.
Sister site Kotaku Japan asked TGS management what impact the Tohoku quake will have on this year's Tokyo Game Show. "Currently, we are not thinking of cancelling or making the show smaller," TGS management told Kotaku Japan. However, TGS management added, "Depending on the situation from here on out, it is possible that the show is reduced."
While abroad, the news of the Tohoku earthquake has disappeared from the front page and events in Libiya have moved to the centre, Japan continues to grapple with the effects. And will so for years to come.
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