NAGOYA (Kyodo) The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry has warned the U.S. forces in Japan over unauthorized radio waves emitted by baby monitors used in the homes of military personnel because they disrupt taxi and trucking company radio transmissions.
Foreign-made baby monitors, often used by families of U.S. military and civilian personnel stationed in Japan, emit radio waves stronger than the stipulated level or of similar frequency as nearby mobile phone and radio base stations, resulting in interference in violation of the radio law, ministry officials said.
A public relations officer of the U.S. forces in Japan said they are striving to curb illegal radio transmissions and discouraging the use of baby monitors bought in the United States through broadcast and newspapers for military personnel.
A baby monitor uses a radio system to allow people to check on infants at a distance, such as in separate rooms, by setting a transmitter equipped with a microphone and sometimes a camera near the baby. Such devices are not widely used in Japan, where the average home is smaller than in the U.S.
Since 2008, there have been increasing detections of illegal radio waves from U.S. military-related residential areas in Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of U.S. military bases and facilities in Japan.
The communications ministry’s local telecommunications office investigated the cases and determined the radio waves were emitted by foreign-made baby monitors.
Similar cases have also been reported at residences of U.S. military personnel in Tokyo and Kanagawa, Yamaguchi and Nagasaki prefectures.
‘There are situations in which they could affect important radio communications, such as among firefighters,” a ministry official said. “We hope people will not use products that do not comply with Japan’s standards.”
The problem is not unique to U.S. military-related families. There have also been cases of Japanese using foreign-made baby monitors and other devices, including transceivers, that don’t meet Japanese technical standards.
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