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PLENARY Japan Update Q Re:think 2011 Q Tipster: Event Design


JAPAN UPDATE ‘An Opportunity to Support Japan’


Earth’s axis by 9.8 inches. More than 12,000 people were killed. As of press time, more than 15,000 people were missing, and Japanese officials were still working to stabilize the severely damaged Fukushima I nuclear power plant — a process that isn’t expected to end soon. Resulting in an estimated $300 billion in damages, To¯hoku is expected to be the most expensive natural disaster in world history. Such unprecedented destruction made


T


it difficult in the days following the earth- quake to focus anywhere else in Japan than on the areas that were directly affected. The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) temporarily paused its tourism promotion activities so it could concentrate on rescue and relief efforts, but resumed promotions in late April. Dozens of meetings scheduled throughout


the country in late March and early April were canceled. But less clear was the best course of action for meetings that are slated to go to Japan over the next month or two. “If our meeting had been scheduled right after the earthquake, it would have been a no-brainer to cancel,” said a planner whose organization is scheduled to meet in Tokyo next month. “And if it was scheduled a year from now, we wouldn’t be thinking of relocating.” But the near future — “that’s much harder,” she said. The Academy of International Business


(AIB) found itself in a similar position — its 2011 Annual Meeting is scheduled for June 24–28 in Nagoya, Japan, 285 miles from the nuclear disaster site. After “considerable discussion and rigorous evaluation,” AIB’s executive board decided to hold the meeting as planned, barring no new disaster or wors- ening of the current one. “Safety is our first objective, and Nagoya is safe by all accounts,” AIB President Mary Ann Von Glinow and AIB


22 pcma convene May 2011


HE TO¯HOKU EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI that struck eastern Japan on March 11 was so powerful that it shifted the


Foundation President Tomas Hult wrote in a letter to their members. The March 30 letter gave a detailed sum-


PLAN A: The Academy of International Business is going ahead with its 2011 Annual Meeting in Nagoya, Japan, next month.


HELPING THE RECOVERY


 The Academy of International Business (AIB) will contribute all unrestricted donations made by members to the AIB Foundation between March 30 and their June conference to earthquake relief in Japan: http://aib.msu .edu/aibfoundation .asp.


 Many organizations — including PCMA — have recommended that anyone who would like to donate money do so through the Red Cross’ Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami fund: www .redcross.org.


mary of the information on which AIB relied to come to a decision, including reports on the radiation levels in Nagoya (normal), as well the recommendations of the World Health Organization, the U.S. Commercial Consul in Nagoya, and others. Von Glinow and Hult also pointed to decisions made by other organizations to go ahead with their meetings in the next few months: “Of the 18 interna- tional conferences/trade shows scheduled for Nagoya, Kyoto, and Tokyo for the May–July period, 17 have confirmed their intention to keep their meetings in Japan (only one event in Tokyo has been relocated).” The decision to hold AIB’s upcoming meeting in Nagoya, Von Glinow and Hult concluded, “is an important opportunity for the AIB community to come together and support Japan, our local hosts, and the local economy.” Philip Rosenfeld, managing director of Ja-


panQuest Journeys destination management company, helped put the disaster in context in a recent post on JNTO’s blog, at www .japantravelinfo.com/blog. Juxtaposed on a map of the United States, Japan “would run along the entire east coast from Maine to northern Florida,” Rosenfeld wrote. “Fortu- nately, the vast majority of its people and infrastructure were not physically harmed. Although deep sympathy is felt glob- ally for the plight of those in the To¯hoku re- gion in the north, life is relatively unscathed in the vast majority of the country — includ- ing transportation systems, food supplies, industrial capacity, and electrical grids. This fact alone will accelerate Japan’s bid towards normalcy.” For ongoing updates about travel to and


within Japan, along with statements from JNTO, visit www.japantravelinfo.com/news. n —Barbara Palmer


www.pcma.org





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