Although Asian tourists are flocking to Japan in greater numbers, many are at a loss in railway stations, where few signs are written in languages other than Japanese and English.

Several railways, including East Japan Railway Co. (JR East), are making modest efforts to present station names in Chinese and Korean, but Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai), which operates the Tokaido Shinkansen Line, has decided to offer announcements in English only.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry criticized JR Tokai in 2009, pointing to a need for multilingual signs. JR Tokai's position is that "adding multiple languages to the board means having smaller words".