National

Government opens multilingual web portal to unify disaster information ahead of Olympics

by Shusuke Murai

Staff Writer

Accessing reliable information in the aftermath of a disaster is not easy, especially in an era where vast quantities of information are scattered across the internet.

The government is trying to ease the potential for confusion ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with a new website that pools disaster information mainly from government agencies and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in one place.

The new portal, launched Thursday by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, is linked to 75 websites with information on disaster situations and the locations of evacuation centers in Tokyo and its surrounding areas. It also contains links to the websites of major transportation firms.

English, Chinese and Korean translations are available at 29 of the websites, but the ministry plans to increase multilingual support further.

“Although lots of information is provided by various ministries, people, myself included, usually had trouble reaching what they really wanted,” said Tomohiro Nezu, the ministry official in charge of the web portal. “I hope this website will ease such confusion.”

The portal also has a collection of links to sites that help people prepare for disasters, including those with tips on how to protect oneself and records of past disasters.

The website was designed to be as simple and fast as possible so people can access information with ease even if the internet slows down, Nezu said.

“Toward the Tokyo Olympics, we wanted foreign visitors planning to visit Japan to feel safe and secure about coming here,” Nezu said Friday.

“We want all people in Japan to know that visiting this website will help them get informed quickly about the things they need.”

A government panel in 2013 said there was a 70 percent chance of a magnitude-7 earthquake striking Tokyo and the surrounding areas within the next 30 years. The panel said it could kill as many as 23,000 people and cause about ¥95 trillion in damage to the economy.

The portal site can be accessed at: www.mlit.go.jp/river/bousai/olympic/index.html

Coronavirus banner