If you're headed for Osaka to take part in the G20 Summit scheduled for June 28 and 29, you'll be encountering strict security measures in the city's Suminoue Ward, especially around INTEX Osaka, venue of the conference.
While the conference attendants ponder the world's economic fate, Weekly Playboy (July 1) chooses to focus on a different aspect of Osakan omotenashi (hospitality), specifically its sanitary facilities.
"At the time our city's hosting of G20 was decided, there were still 38 Japanese-style (washiki) toilets on the premises," a member of the city's Economic Strategy Bureau is quoted as saying. "We replaced 19 of these with Western-style commodes, and added another 16 toilets for women that were designed as multipurpose rooms. Half of them were supplied by Toto and half by Lixil."
No doubt, remarks the writer tongue-in-cheek, even President Donald Trump will be prompted to praise the host nation's efforts as a "Good job!"
The aforementioned bureaucrat added that Osaka Gov Hirofumi Yoshimura had specifically proposed, "Let's provide nice toilets to the people who come from around the world."
"When our plans were conveyed to private businesses and we sought contributions, those two companies came forward," he explained.
The result no doubt will be impressive enough to even elicit a grateful spasibo from Vladimir Putin.
One of the models in use will be Toto's "Public Compact" commode with a flush-type tank. Formerly, about 60 seconds waiting time was required between flushes. This model, however, can generate the next flush with a delay of just 20 seconds.
"This should be especially helpful in periods of peak demand, when ladies line up for the loo," said a company spokesperson. Another feature, he added, was the washlet "bidet" function that sprays water processed by electrolysis thereby supplying bacteria-free H2O from the nozzle, alleviating any sanitary concerns by users.
For its bidet apparatus Lixil has developed a device it calls a "ladies' nozzle." As the spokesperson explains, "These are by far the most advanced functions among models at public facilities. We have boosted ecological considerations so as to utilize only about half the volume of water used by previous types. For the ladies' restrooms we've installed a model with two separate nozzles for washing. The added feeling of cleanliness afforded by use of a second 'ladies' nozzle' has earned it rave reviews from users."
By parading out their top of the line models before the eyes of the world, Japan's two top ceramics makers clearly have hopes to promote export sales.
The sales manager at the toilet fixture department at an appliance mass retail store told the magazine that in his experience, whenever a nearby commercial facility with modern facilities is opened, customer demand goes up at his store.
"It's a pity that average people can't enter the G20 venue yet because of the heightened security measures," he rued.
The manager notes that one feature shared by both Toto and Lixil is that the spray nozzle pressure from their commodes tends to be stronger than competitors. Some believe that the sensation from a stronger jet of water may be more pleasurable, making Lixil's model in particular more popular with women --- although its gender-neutral model is also said to be favored at country clubs patronized by middle-aged men.
"Toto models, on the other hand, are great because they enable control," the manager added. "And their spray halts instantaneously in response to the stop button.
"I can hardly wait to hear what praises presidents Trump and Putin will be singing to the world, after they use products by these two outstanding Japanese manufacturers!" he gushed.© Japan Today