The transport ministry plans to standardize English descriptions on road signs across the country to make them easier for overseas visitors to understand in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, informed sources said.

The ministry will make the descriptions consistent with those in English-language travel guides and the maps of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan, the sources said.

It will ask each prefecture to set up a committee to work out the details on implementing the plan, including on how the names of places and facilities should be described in English, the sources said.

Some 19,800 signs have already been listed for improvement in Tokyo and neighboring Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures, which will host many Olympic and Paralympic events. Of those, improvements have been made to 14,300 signs.

In the four prefectures, English descriptions have been changed on some 13,200 signs to make them consistent with the official Olympic guidebook. For example, “Odaibakaihin Park” in Tokyo was altered to “Odaiba Marine Park.”

Pictographs and inverted text colors have also been adopted for signs near Olympic venues and public facilities.

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