England forwards coach Steve Borthwick has expressed his concern for the millions of people in the path of Super Typhoon Hagibis.
Evacuation advisories have been issued for parts of the Tokyo region, which is expected to feel the full force of the hurricane’s 122mph winds on Saturday evening local time.
England’s World Cup group decider against France in Yokohama was cancelled because of Japan’s largest tropical storm for 61 years and Scotland’s crunch clash with the hosts is also likely to fall victim.
Borthwick lived in Tokyo for three years when he was part of Eddie Jones’ Brave Blossoms management team and during that time he became aware of the nation’s resilience.
“First and foremost you want to make sure everyone is safe. Hopefully this storm passes, everyone is safe and there’s minimal damage,” Borthwick said.
“In Japan they’re very resilient people and they’re prepared for different types of incidents. They’ve had to go through a lot.
“One of the things that struck me when I moved here is that straight away you get an education on these incidents.
“People tell you what you need like having everything in the cupboard in case there is an earthquake so that you’ve always got it ready.
To all the England fans in Tokyo…
A message from Ben Youngs. pic.twitter.com/BxBVZgUhld
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) October 12, 2019
“My little boy was taught at pre-school that if he heard the earthquake alarms what to do and he’d straight away climb under the table.
“It’s a country that’s really well prepared for different types of natural weather incidents and situations like earthquakes, and when you come and live here there’s an education as soon as you get here.”
Upon learning on Thursday their Pool C showdown at International Stadium Yokohama had been cancelled, England departed Tokyo for Miyazaki where they held their pre-tournament training camp.
While they have escaped a typhoon that is expected to cause widespread devastation, the players are still affected by events in Honshu.
“I know people who have flown here just for the weekend,” Saracens hooker Jamie George said.
“We’re obviously gutted for those guys – trust me we’d much rather be playing as well but I think as difficult as it is it’s very difficult circumstances.
“My parents actually left on Thursday when we found out there wasn’t going to be a game, they’ve flown back to be with my brother who lives in Bangkok, and then my girlfriend headed out of Tokyo with a few of the other girls.
“They’re a bit out of Tokyo so we don’t have anyone there at the minute, but I’ve got a couple of mates there who are trying to wait it all out.”
— Duncan Bech (@DuncanBech) October 12, 2019
England head to Oita City on Monday to step up preparations for the weekend’s quarter-final, which will almost certainly be against Australia.
On the day they were due to be playing France, the squad engaged in a full blooded training session that was missing number eight Billy Vunipola and wing Jack Nowell.
Vunipola and Nowell are doubts for Saturday’s Oita Stadium showdown because of respective ankle and hamstring injuries and are undergoing rehabilitation.
Prop Joe Marler has resumed full training after recovering from a back injury sustained against Argentina.