<img src="http://pokegym.net/gallery/displayimage.php?imageid=35475" alt="Jpn Worlds Minisite Bkgnd" /> Note: thanks to Tego for the article! Many Pokégym members have been wondering what will happen to Japan's Battle Road (the big qualifier for Japan Nationals) tournaments, and Japan's attendance at future World Championships, after the Spring Battle Roads 2008 and the Spring Japan Nationals 2008 were abruptly cancelled after the Hokkaido and Kansai Battle Roads in March. Yesterday, special Japanese minisite on Worlds 2009 was launched, and not only does it reveal the location of Worlds 2009 as "on the west coast of the US" (!), it also presents a new championship series structure for Japan that seems to be a big change from what we've seen until now, with the 1000-ish person Battle Road Kansai and the following terrorist threat to the Kanto (Tokyo) Battle Road. Here's the new structure, according to the website: * Tournaments will be held for the video games AND for the Trading Card Game at all levels, including Worlds - which now seems to be called "Pokémon World Championships", not the "Pokémon TCG World Championships". * You can now only enter tournaments if you're a member of the (relatively) new Pokémon Daisuki Club (I Love Pokémon Club) and have a member's card * The levels of tournaments is now: 1) Prefectural championships - one for each and every one of the 47 prefectures of Japan 2) Regional Championships - these are held in 6 locations across the country, and thus basically seem to replace the Battle Road (or Winter Challenge) events 3) Japan Nationals 4) Worlds 2009 So what does this mean? The 47 prefectural championships is something very new and exciting. At the same time, Regionals and Nationals both seem to be invite-only, and are thus both reduced to small-sized events. The giant convention center hall style events now seems to be limited to casual events for beginners and younger players, while the road to Worlds has become tougher, more competitive and possibly bigger in attendance in total. (Having one tournament in every prefecture of Japan should raise the number of people competing for a spot in Worlds IMO, but it's only a guess). Once again it seems like PCL has tackled challenges in a great way, and it will be exciting to observe the changes in Japan's tournament system with the new season starting in October.