national

Gov't to revise road and location signs to assist foreign tourists

16 Comments

In preparation for the large influx of foreign visitors expected to make their way to Japan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a special Tokyo metropolitan government committee is discussing plans to revise and update road and location signs in an effort to assist foreign tourists during their time in Japan.

Detailed plans and scheduling for the sign revision project are expected to be finalized sometime this year.

For example, Japanese place names on signs in and around the Kokuritsukyogijo station near the Olympic Stadium will be have to be written in phonetic alphabet to assist foreign visitors, NHK reported. This, however, will not completely resolve the issue that many areas of Tokyo are difficult to navigate for foreigners who cannot read Japanese. There will be a need for signs in English, Chinese and other languages.

The committee consists of representatives from rail operators, bus companies and the hotel industry, among others.

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16 Comments
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I strongly suggest they hire English speaking agencies to design these

1 ( +1 / -0 )

lets just hope they call the go signal green and not blue, yes it is definately GREEN, not blue, not blue/green but GREEN. many Japanese seem to be color blind on this topic.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

6 years looks like plenty of time to prepare.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I once worked in a government job where i was asked to proofread English road signs only AFTER they had been made in a local region of Japan. I cannot list how many times we had to have a whole bronze sign painfully scrapped and remade. My favorite was "Kulark Street," a sign which was ironically a bad romanization of the katakana for a man named Clark. You'd think someone would have checked what the original spelling was before coming up with a new one-- oops.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I saw it in Nagano-ken...workers were replacing the multilingual ticket machine instructions in a station. When I asked about it they said the signs were "temporary" and locals had complained that it was "jarring" for Japanese in Japan to see all these foreign words. The signs were well-printed on heavy plastic, just like the originals, and matched the other signage well, and were not huge or anything...they didn't look like temporary signs. Wish I could remember the station, but I was just passing through.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why would they remove the signage after the games? It's not like foreigners are going to suddenly stop coming after they are over.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What would really help is really widespread wifi or reasonably priced prepaid cards....a smartphone can get you past lots of obstacles and it's cheaper than re-signing everything.

Any useful new signage will be put in at great expense and then REMOVED at great expense lest it attract prsky foreigners after the games. And then the govt will announce new plans to get more tourists...

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

This, however, will not completely resolve the issue that many areas of Tokyo are difficult to navigate for foreigners who cannot read Japanese.

I'm not sure it's all that great for Japanese who can read Japanese.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is old news!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Is there actually a national standard for things like road signs and stop lights? Standardising road signs, the length of yellow traffic lights and pedestrian crossing signals would be beneficial to the citizens of Japan as well as visitors. At the moment it seems like each area (of even one city!) has a different set of rules for these things. It shouldn't be so random!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Expressways are often trouble. The sign for the turn off is often right at the turn off, not at some distance before making it very hard or dangerous to make the turn in time.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In my town, we have a "Safty Driving" public street sign. Double whammy on the grammar and spelling fail.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

many stations like shinjuku have implemented this. They have actually done a pretty good job, you might feel your in singapore or NYC with their style of announcement. Once the Olympics are over, expect it all to be gone.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

One might also hope they place signs at reasonable intervals and particularly at places where you have to turn to stay on certain roads.

They also need to renumber roads. There are so many roads that are blocks apart but parallel but have the same exact number. If your destination is along one of the roads, it may take some time before you figure out you are on the wrong one. If both are 38, one should be 38a and the other 38b at least.

They also need to to discover spacing (or the hyphen)and start using it. They write in roman letters like its kana and kanji, and it does not work. For example it should be Kokuritsu Kyogijo station. And no it should not be Kokuritsukyogijoeki station like is so often on the signs. If they add eki, it should say Kokuritsu-Kyogijo eki (station).

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Very true! I can not say anything about the Chinese and Korean translations but for Gawd's sake lots of the English in Japan is just crap!!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

To the government, please ensure you have native speakers of the language proofread the language before spending taxpayers money to make and post them. Let's not embarrass the great citizens of Japan.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

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