Road to Tokyo 2020: Japan's Capital Rapidly Evolving into "Global-Standard" City

Economy Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, April 10 (Jiji Press)--Foreign-language signs are increasingly common along streets, cashless payment is available at more and more shops and restaurants, and ashtrays are vanishing from public spaces.

Tokyo is rapidly transforming into a "global-standard" city with these moves, before it hosts the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

The use of digital signage is spreading at train stations and commercial facilities in the Japanese capital. A Mitsukoshi department store in the Ginza district has adopted two digital signage units that can display information for visitors in four languages.

East Japan Railway Co. <9020>, or JR East, has experimented with a digital signage system combined with artificial intelligence, with the view to its full-fledged introduction in time for the 2020 Games. On the trial system installed at Tokyo Station, an AI-based young female character called "AI-Sakura," fluent in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean, answered questions from visitors, with a smile.

The introduction of smartphone-based payment systems, including those originated overseas, is also progressing. Department store operators and convenience store chains have been leading the move, and public transportation service providers and businesses at major tourist spots are now catching up with them.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press