Last updated: 02:22 PM ET, Wed April 22 2015

Japan Eyes Free Wireless Networks to Boost Tourism

Destination & Tourism | Patrick Clarke | April 22, 2015

Japan Eyes Free Wireless Networks to Boost Tourism

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The Japanese government is planning to set up free wireless services at 30,000 locations across the country, including popular tourist destinations by 2020, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.

The goal for the extensive project is to ultimately be able to provide key information in several foreign languages, creating tourist information centers that would make these areas more appealing to visitors from other parts of the world, in turn boosting local economies. 

The networks are currently available in as much as a quarter of the country's tourist spots, but in the coming years would become commonplace at a majority of them, including Japan's national parks and museums, among other notable attractions. 

A big reason for the fast-approaching deadline is that Tokyo is slated to host the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in 2020.

The overall cost of installing the networks is an estimated ¥31.1 billion ($259.4 million), with the government expected to cover about half of those costs. 

However, based on the government's projections, the investment would be worthwhile. 

The government esimates that providing free wireless services would result in an additional 1.46 million annual foreign visitors to Japan leading to a ¥210.2 billion ($1.8 billion) increase in annual spending. 

In addition to tourist destinations, the plan calls for the installation of public wireless local area networks at evacuation facilities throughout Japan as well. 

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