May 23, 2014 12:29 pm JST

Japan to offer free Wi-Fi to foreign tourists

TOKYO -- The Japanese government, the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone group and others plan to start offering free Wi-Fi across the nation to foreign visitors to Japan in fiscal 2016.

     Foreign visitors will receive IDs at airports or tourist spots by showing their passport, which will allow them to use free Wi-Fi at train stations and tourist spots nationwide. The ID will also be downloadable via a smartphone app.

     A survey conducted by the Japan Tourism Agency in 2011 shows that 24% of foreign visitors complained about the difficulty of accessing Wi-Fi in Japan, the biggest letdown followed by language and transportation.

     The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Japan Tourism Agency, NTT Broadband Platform, and KDDI affiliate Wire and Wireless will set up a committee this summer. They will create a system for sharing the ID information of foreign visitors by teaming up with airports, railway operators and the hotel industry.

     The government will call on facilities nationwide offering free Wi-Fi to adopt the common ID system.