• Kyodo


Japan will introduce bilingual traffic signs in July as visitors surge ahead of Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020.

The National Police Agency on Thursday unveiled stop and slow-down signs, each with English translations beneath the Japanese words. The new versions will gradually replace the roughly 1.7 million stop signs and 1,000 slow-down signs across the nation.

In 2016, foreign visitors set a record of 24 million, prompting the NPA to change the signs to make them easier to understand for tourists.

The signs will likely be erected first in areas around airports, where most visitors rent cars.

Unlike the octagonal stop signs prevalent in the U.S. and Europe, however, Japan’s stop sign is an inverted pyramid. The agency decided to maintain the shape because a survey of about 500 foreign drivers showed the current shape is more easily recognizable to overseas tourists, compared to changing the shape to an octagon.

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