• Staff Report


To deal with possible increases in emergency calls involving foreign tourists, the Tokyo Fire Department plans to boost the number of its English-capable units to 36 by April 2016, NHK reported Tuesday.

The step is part of the fire department’s preparations for an expected surge in the number of incoming tourists ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, according to NHK.

Unlike most emergency-aid workers at the fire department, members of the English-capable units can directly communicate in the language without using the conventional “communication board,” which lists a variety of health conditions in English to help communication.

At present, 13 such units have been set up in Tokyo’s 23 wards, with some members receiving training overseas, according to NHK.

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