Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui said Friday he wants to start providing useful information for foreign visitors in the event of a disaster.
The plan to develop a multilingual email system was announced after many foreigners faced difficulties when a powerful typhoon this week closed Kansai International Airport and disrupted a large number of traffic networks. They were also badly in need of emergency information when a strong earthquake hit Osaka in June.
"When Typhoon Jebi came, it was conspicuous that many foreign visitors were hardly able to get information," Matsui told reporters after a meeting of the Osaka prefectural government. "As it will help save their lives in times of an emergency, I'd like to utilize (the accommodation tax)."
Under the plan, foreign visitors who register for the email system in advance will receive information such as on public transportation, and when power and water outages may end in the event of a disaster.
(Many foreign visitors were stranded at Kansai airport)
The envisaged system will be financially backed by the prefecture's accommodation tax. During the meeting, the local government decided to present a draft ordinance to the upcoming assembly session to increase the tax revenue.
Currently, each hotel guest who pays an accommodation fee of 10,000 yen or more is required to pay tax within the range of 100 to 300 yen. The prefectural government is seeking to lower the taxable level to 7,000 yen or more.