Better Wi-Fi access in Tokyo a goal for 2020

In Other News - November 14th, 2013

A country as technologically advanced as Japan would presumably have no problem connecting to the Internet. Surprisingly, Wi-Fi access is hard to come by in Tokyo.

According to The Nikkei, Wi-Fi access could make or break the impression Japan will leave to tourists and that it should be a priority ahead of the Summer Olympics in 2020.

Narita Airport is one of the biggest structures in Japan to offer free Wi-Fi connectivity but accessing the internet means logging in with an e-mail address. The Narita Express trains and airport buses charge customers to connect to the internet.

Free Wi-Fi spots have emerged over the past year such as in train stations of East Japan Railway Co and Tokyo Metro Co. JR East has offered free Wi-Fi access to major stations in Tokyo since October 2012 as a service to foreign tourists while Tokyo Metro makes free connections available at nearly all its subway stations.

Others who offer free Wi-Fi are considered unfriendly to tourists since registration pages appear in Japanese language.

Getting Wi-Fi around the streets of Tokyo is almost impossible and even Starbucks, which is known as a haven for Wi-Fi connections in many countries, are not the most Wi-Fi friendly locations: they require registration in advance.

Most establishments in western countries and some Asian nations have free Wi-Fi access to draw in customers. In South Korea, they often charge fees or require advance registration, but the government is working to make free Wi-Fi available at all public facilities in Seoul by 2015.

Japan is aiming to boost tourism in the country ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: brendangates/Flickr