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Japan-Update

Chinese tourists in Japan to get travel tips from Tokyo FM

Broadcaster will offer booking, shopping and emergency info via rental devices

Radio company Tokyo FM Broadcasting aims to broaden its tourist audience with an eye to the 2020 Olympics.

TOKYO -- Tokyo FM Broadcasting is teaming up with Chinese companies to provide the latest travel and shopping information to tourists from China via specially developed devices.

The radio company's Tokyo Smartcast subsidiary will Feb. 12 launch a dedicated website for the info service. Tokyo Smartcast will link up on the Chinese side with companies including travel booker Ctrip, as well as Sina, the operator of social media platform Weibo. Japanese partners will include Japan Airport Terminal, the company that operates Tokyo's Haneda Airport.

For several hundred yen (100 yen equals 91 cents) per day, users will be able to rent the wireless internet devices in airports before their trip. The receivers come with proprietary software for picking up Tokyo Smartcast's Chinese-language audio, video and text programming, made in partnership with media focused on topics like Japanese fashion and fine dining.

The devices will offer tourists the option to book air trips or hotel stays, as well as sign up for a wide range of events, such as running in races or watching live sports. Other functions will let users verbally ask questions and get answers remotely from support staff, as well as receive alerts about natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons.

Chinese visitors to Japan numbered about 7.36 million in 2017. People increasingly came independently of tour groups, and those aged 25-34 made up about 40% of the total. Seeing growing demand for individual jaunts to the country, Tokyo FM aims to continue building its customer base through its new service in advance of the 2020 Olympics. It expects to draw over 1 million users in the first year.

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