• Kyodo, Staff Report

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Just 11 percent of local municipalities planned to set up evacuation manuals for foreign tourists in their disaster prevention plans, a government survey has shown, indicating slow progress despite an expected surge in visitors from abroad in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

A survey, released Tuesday, of 484 cities, wards, towns and villages conducted by the Japan Tourism Agency also showed that 19 percent listed no countermeasures for foreign tourists in their disaster prevention plans. The agency is set to call for beefing up countermeasures as the government is targeting a record 40 million foreign visitors this year.

The survey also showed that 38 percent planned to set up and disseminate evacuation guidance for foreign tourists who do not understand Japanese. Thirty-four percent aimed to make use of volunteer translators, while 4 percent planned to stockpile food that conforms to diverse religious beliefs and lifestyles.

A separate survey by the tourism agency on 37 prefectures also showed that more than 70 percent planned to disseminate disaster information and knowledge of emergency preparedness and response in their disaster prevention plans, showing a more proactive approach to setting up countermeasures compared with the local municipalities.

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