A smartphone app-based service has been in place in three Japanese cities since July which connects tourists and the elderly with those who can offer immediate and in-person assistance.
Developed by the printing company Dai Nippon Printing Co., "May ii" allows users to choose from a selection of 30 items on a problems list, which is then sent to a nearby "supporter," who can offer personal assistance, also via the app.
(Smartphone app-based service "May ii")
The developer expects common problems will include, having difficulty getting to a destination, or needing assistance with stairs. Once the request is accepted, the user and supporter can find each other via the global positioning system.
Services are currently available in some areas in Tokyo, including the popular tourism spot Shibuya, the Tenjin shopping and business area in the southwestern city of Fukuoka and Sapporo train stations in the northernmost main island of Hokkaido.
Help is available between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. and is offered in Japanese, English and Korean, according to Dai Nippon Printing.