World Cup viewers strain Tokyo’s plumbing system with halftime toilet dash

AFP-JIJI

During their team’s 2-1 World Cup win over Colombia, Japan’s armchair soccer fans risked triggering a plumbing disaster of biblical proportions when millions rushed to the toilet at halftime.

It was a case of squeaky bum time when fans finally tore themselves away from the TV last week after a nail-biting first 45 minutes, with water use jumping 24 percent in Tokyo during the break, the city’s waterworks bureau said Friday.

“We presume it’s because a lot of people holding off on a trip to the bathroom all went at once,” an official said.

“Water use can fluctuate, especially during football matches, which only have one break in the middle,” she added.

“It also can be affected by a period of time, excitement and other factors.”

Flushed with joy after watching Yuya Osako bag a second-half winner for Japan against 10-man Colombia in Russia on Tuesday, jubilant fans made another dash for the loo at the final whistle, causing an additional 50 percent spike in water use.

But the official revealed that the Tokyo waterworks bureau anticipated the stampede and adjusted the city’s supply and pressure accordingly to avoid catastrophe.

“We are ready to prepare for a stable water supply during the next match on Sunday,” she insisted, looking ahead to Japan’s clash with Senegal.

A similar pattern was noted nationwide as viewers remained glued to their screens for the live broadcast on prime-time TV.

Viewership also hit a yearly high of 48.7 percent in Japan, shattering the 33.9 percent logged when figure skating hero Yuzuru Hanyu won Olympic gold in February.