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Business

NEC to shop earthquake warning system overseas

TOKYO -- Japanese technology company NEC will field-test its earthquake early warning system in Taiwan along with the island's weather agency starting in September as part of a push for overseas sales.

     A purchase by Taiwan would make NEC's offering the first such Japanese warning system to be sold offshore.

     NEC's system records preliminary tremors, then provides advance alerts of larger quakes via television and cellphones. The Japan Meteorological Agency adopted the system on a trial basis in 2004, then permanently three years later.

     Taiwan, like Japan, experiences frequent earthquakes. The Japanese warning system's accuracy caught the eye of Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau.

     NEC is developing software corresponding to such factors as observation points in Taiwan ahead of the September start date. The company aims to secure an order by December at the earliest.

     NEC looks to sell the technology to five countries and regions in the next five years. Potential customers include Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Nepal, Peru and Chile. The company will market the system with financial support from the Japanese government.

     Each order would be worth 5 billion yen to 10 billion yen ($43 million to $87 million). In addition to the software, projects would include installing high-performance seismometers and constructing a telecommunications infrastructure capable of collecting data. NEC also will provide operational support to national weather bureaus.

     Taiwan already operates its own earthquake early warning system, as do countries such as Mexico, Turkey and Romania. Many such systems were developed by local research institutions and startups. When hunting orders, NEC plans to differentiate itself with its wealth of proven technological expertise.

(Nikkei)

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