Jan 9, 2018
TOKYO - The government is set to offer information related to disasters to drivers through vehicle navigation systems via Japan's satellite system, a government source said Monday.
The government wants to introduce the service that could start as early as fiscal 2018, after many people inside vehicles were not able to obtain crucial information swiftly enough during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The system that utilizes Michibiki satellites has an advantage over other communication infrastructure including mobile phone networks as such facilities can be damaged or lost by disaster, the source said.
The government is planning to ask companies to cooperate as certain software needs to be installed in vehicle navigation systems, according to the source.
The government already conducted demonstration experiments last November in Wakayama and Kochi prefectures, and tested issuing "tsunami warnings" via Michibiki satellites.
Separately, the government plans to build a safety confirmation system utilizing the satellites. People can confirm the safety of their family members and friends through the system once evacuees enter their names and other information into the system set up at evacuation shelters.
The government plans to introduce the safety confirmation system on a trial basis in five municipal governments during fiscal 2018 and hopes to expand the number to 20 in fiscal 2021, the source said.
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