Disaster Info Service for Tourists Launched in Japan

News in Asia
Disaster Info Service for Tourists Launched in Japan

Trials of the multilingual smartphone-based service to provide foreign tourists with necessary information in case of natural calamity begin in western Japan. A government bureau decided to introduce the service following several natural disasters of the last summer – earthquakes, torrential rains and typhoons.

The service is operated by the Kinki Bureau of Telecommunications in Osaka and is aimed at providing weather news and evacuation orders. The service supports several languages and will be of great help to foreign embassies when deciding on the necessity of issue of messages to their nationals in emergency situations. During calm periods the service will provide tourist information regarding sightseeing destinations and the like.

The launch of the service in Osaka is scheduled for June to coincide with the Group of 20 summit that will be hosted in the city. Two major reasons for introducing the disaster information service is the growing number of foreign workers in Japan and the upcoming Osaka 2025 World Expo. The city has learned the lesson of the last year when many foreign nationals were struggling to obtain information about extensive traffic disruptions in disaster-hit areas.

The application is easy to use and is called 'Portable News'. It is already under trail by personnel from the Vietnamese, Peruvian and Filipino consulates. Besides providing relevant information to the focus audience, it will help combat fake news and rumours spread through different social network media in case of disaster, limiting the sources of information to public institutions and disaster-relief organisations.

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