The language barrier is preventing many foreign residents in Hiroshima Prefecture from keeping abreast of the latest status of the coronavirus pandemic, highlighting the need for municipalities to provide essential information in multiple languages.

“It was through social media that I came to know about the whole kyūgyō yōsei thing,” Michelle Crothers, an Australian who runs an English conversation school in the city of Hiroshima, said, referring to the Japanese phrase for “request to suspend businesses.”

On April 18, when the prefecture issued the request in line with the state of emergency declared by the central government, Crothers stumbled upon a friend’s social media post written in English about the prefecture’s announcement.