• Kyodo


The Japanese industry ministry plans to create a smartphone app that offers foreign tourists customized information in their native languages, ministry officials said Monday.

The system will be tried in some areas of the country from the year starting in April 2016, after the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry solicit municipalities that will cooperate in the project, they said.

The ministry hopes the app will be available in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Under the system aimed to bring more tourists to Japan, visitors would be asked to register their personal data such as their native language, religion or medical history while on a flight or at the airport if they wish to receive information to meet their needs.

Those registered would be given an ID each that enables them to easily access selected information on the smartphone, the officials said.

For example, the app would show places and events that might meet the tourist’s interests, which are not limited to major tourist spots. It would also allow users to find restaurants and hotels that meet particular religious needs, medical institutions available in case of urgency and disaster information.

The ministry is considering equipping the app with a payment function, as foreign travelers might feel frustrated with not being able to use credit cards at as many places as they can in other countries, the officials said.

The ministry also hopes to analyze the users’ consumer behavior to help Japanese municipalities and companies attract more tourists, they said.

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