Entertainment may be the theme park’s core, but safety is of utmost importance.
The recent powerful earthquake in Osaka affected an extensive area of Japan, bursting water pipes, cracking roads and delaying train lines. Universal Studios Japan (USJ) was drastically affected too, due to its location near the epicenter, and a previous tweet of a ticket booth with glass smashed into smithereens shocked everyone with the severity of the quake.
▼ “Universal Studios Japan. The glass shattered.”
モンブラン@スプラ垢 (@Oh20wSz) June 17, 2018
But it turns out there’s more to the story, as explained by @harulob (translation below).
Haru【L.O.B.】 (@harulob) June 18, 2018
“The shattered USJ booth glass has become a hot topic, but it’s designed so that employees who can’t open the door won’t end up getting trapped in there. Once a certain level of pressure is applied, it will break.”
That explains the evenly crumbled glass, allowing whoever’s trapped in there to escape unharmed instead of having to deal with razor-sharp glass. It seemed then that USJ spared no expense in ensuring the safety of both customers and employees by using tempered glass, a more expensive and sturdier type of glass that crumbles into small harmless chunks. Cheaper glass would result in dangerous cracks forming, possibly cutting evacuees with jagged edges.
▼ Costing up to twice the price of normal glass, tempered glass is also used
as movie props in action scenes. Perfect for a place like USJ.
motty&ponte ( ◠‿◠ ) (@0edfc350125343a) June 18, 2018
Although the Osaka earthquake hit at 7:58 a.m. while the theme park was still closed, things would have turned out very bloody if it had struck one hour later at a venue that used standard glass.
Japanese netizens were glad no one was hurt:
“That type of glass is a special one that will break into smaller pieces, isn’t it? You won’t get injured even if it hits you.”
“It’s reassuring to know that it’s equipped with earthquake safety measures.”
“That’s like the windscreen glass on cars. It’s designed to break into round bits to prevent injuries.”
Some establishments may skimp on building costs by using cheaper material, but USJ knows such shortcuts would inevitably cost lives in the long run, particularly in a disaster-prone country like Japan. It might be a theme park at heart, but we’re glad they’re dead serious when it comes to safety.