Orix Corp. officially announced the launch Wednesday of its new free information service for foreign tourists that enables the accessing of local information websites translated into other languages through the scanning of specially designated placards using smartphones.

By holding a phone or a similar device equipped with the Near Field Communication System, which is downloadable, over a placard or by scanning a QR code via a camera, tourists can view local travel information websites provided by the municipalities in the languages set up on their own personal devices. If there is no translated content in that language, an English translation will automatically be displayed. English, Chinese, Korean and Thai are currently available, said Orix spokesman Ken Matsumura.

"With this service, (foreign) tourists can have access to the best local information, and will not need to search 'places to see' on Google all the time," said Tetsuya Fujii, another Orix spokesman, at a news conference held in Tokyo's Minato Ward.