On November 27th, the Kinki Bureau of Telecommunications, a branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, announced that they will start demonstration experiments next February to establish a system to provide accurate information promptly to non-Japanese travelers and residents at the time of a disaster, like in an earthquake, tsunami, typhoon or flood.
The system is set to be implemented in Osaka at first, and then expand into Kyoto, Hyogo, Shiga, Nara and Wakayama prefectures.
They plan to make an information system that enables disaster-related information notifications to be sent to smartphones of foreign travelers and/or residents based on GPS tracking and the individual’s registered information. Within this system, the following functions will be available: a push notification in multiple languages in times of earthquakes, torrential rain and so on, and delivery of disaster-related information customized for the individual, based on their current location and nationality.
In addition, the ministry has considered sharing important information even at other times in cooperation with local governments, public transportation companies, tourism organizations, hotels, foreigner communities and Japanese language schools. The system will also be available for free for foreign embassies and consulates in Japan that want to send out safety confirmation emails and rescue information to citizens of their own country at the time of a large-scale disaster.
Quick delivery of accurate information in multiple languages is essential for non-Japanese travelers and residents to live a safe life in Japan where natural disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons and torrential rain often occur.
It is hoped that this experiment will succeed and the system will expand into other regions so that international people can feel safe whilst staying in Japan.