Lack of free Wi-Fi at some evacuation centers in Japan poses challenges to foreigners

Lack of free Wi-Fi at some evacuation centers in Japan poses challenges to foreigners

Toyohashi es el más avanzado con acceso Wi-Fi gratuito, con un 35,5 % de todos los centros de evacuación y refugios que brindan dicho servicio, seguido de Nagoya con un 33 %

Free Wi-Fi is not widely available at municipal evacuation centers in some parts of Japan, even though foreign residents want to obtain information through disaster prevention applications and social media when disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis occur, a survey has found.

The poll by the Chubu Regional Administrative Evaluation Bureau asked 220 foreign residents in Aichi Prefecture, including those from Vietnam, the Philippines and Brazil, about their awareness of disaster information, and examined the efforts of six cities in the prefecture with large numbers of foreign residents: Nagoya, Toyota, Komaki, Nishio, Toyohashi and Okazaki.

According to the results, 85.9% of foreign residents were concerned about how to obtain information during times of disasters, and 78.6% were anxious about the language used when information is distributed. The preferred method of obtaining information was disaster prevention applications at 22.7%, and social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Line at 22.3%. The internet, including websites and email, was preferred by 68.2% of all respondents. Reasons for preferring these services included, "I usually get information from them," and, "They provide information in a language I can understand."

In response to the wishes of these foreign residents, all six target cities are using social media to disseminate information, but only two of them are using disaster prevention apps. In addition, all of them indicated that they would like to offer free Wi-Fi access at evacuation centers and shelters, but only four cities have actually done so. Toyohashi is most advanced with free Wi-Fi access, with 35.5% of all evacuation centers and shelters providing such a service, followed by Nagoya with 33%. Each of these cities reportedly felt the difficulty of installing free Wi-Fi because security and operational standards have not been developed.

Naoki Maeda, director of the evaluation and monitoring division of the Administrative Evaluation Bureau, commented, "The establishment of a free (Wi-Fi) environment is a nationwide issue. We would like to discuss this with the relevant department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications so that operational standards can be developed and notified to each municipality."



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