Japan to seek visitors' info for hospitality scheme

Japan to seek visitors' info for hospitality scheme
PHOTO: The Straits Times

The government will establish a system that transcends language barriers and smoothly provides "omotenashi" hospitality services to foreign visitors.

Foreigners will be asked to volunteer personal information such as their religion, languages, food preferences and chronic diseases.

This information will then be passed on to hotels, restaurants, hospitals and other institutions in Japan.

The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry has included funds in its fiscal 2016 budget request for a prototype system.

It aims to put the full system into practical use by fiscal 2020, when the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be held.

Under the envisaged system, foreigners entering Japan will be asked to register their personal information using a personal computer or smartphone application at an airport or on a plane.

A new organisation will be created by the public and private sectors to manage the information in an integrated manner, allowing access only by authorised hotels and restaurants.

Foreign visitors will be able to find participating hotels and restaurants using a smartphone application.

Restaurants will be better able to deal with such customers as Muslims who do not consume pork or alcohol, and vegetarians, even though they do not understand foreign languages.

Meanwhile, foreigners will be able to smoothly receive treatment at medical institutions if they suffer a sudden illness while staying in Japan.

The ministry is considering developing a website or an application to connect foreign visitors and restaurants and other facilities in Japan.

The ministry also hopes to extend participation in the system across the nation, and plans to create a new council comprising private companies, local governments and other bodies in preparation for the establishment of the envisaged public-private organisation.

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