Nagano Pref. Lauded for Typhoon Info in 15 Languages, Simple Japanese

Society Lifestyle

Nagano, Nov. 11 (Jiji Press)--Nagano Prefecture has won praise for providing foreign residents of disaster information related to powerful Typhoon Hagibis, which tore through the central Japan prefecture last month, in multiple languages and in simple Japanese.

The prefectural government's Multicultural Counseling Center offered telephone consultation services to residents in 15 languages, including English, Chinese, Tagalog and Portuguese, on Oct. 13, the day after the 19th typhoon of the year made landfall in central Japan, although it was a Sunday.

More than 10 inquiries were made for information, including on the process of acquiring disaster victim certificates and ways to dispose of disaster waste, and the center helped the callers speak with prefectural government officials through interpreters.

On Oct. 14 and later, the Nagano government's Twitter account for disaster management posted messages using only easy words written in "hiragana" Japanese phonetic letters, including one that read, "For foreigners who are not good at Japanese, we made a phone (consultation service) in which you can speak in many foreign languages."

These tweets were retweeted, or shared, over 40,000 times, with many commenting how generous the initiative is and how they were moved by it. The outpouring of praise "was unexpected, and we are thankful," a representative of the prefecture's international division said.

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