Disaster warning vending machines in Japan

A vending machine on the streets of Tokyo is equipped with a radio that broadcasts emergency messages in the event of an earthquake or disaster.

A bottled beverage maker based in Minato, Tokyo, has mounted a dedicated radio on the roof of a vending machine in Tokyo’s Setagaya district. This is the first time that this emergency message delivery scheme has been applied in the Japanese capital, Mainichi news today.

When an earthquake of magnitude 5 or higher occurs, the radio will be activated, transmitting emergency warning information or requesting an evacuation from the Setagaya FM radio station. The radio will also broadcast news about fires, missing children or elderly people, or suspicious objects.

A Setagaya radio official said they will work with the local government to broadcast the information, helping “people stay safe and calm”.

Messages from the radio can be heard at a distance of 100 meters. The device is also equipped with a battery, which can work for about two days in the event of a power failure.

Vending machines equipped with emergency radios on the roof at a park in Setagaya district, Tokyo, January 18.  Photo: Mainichi.

Vending machines equipped with emergency radios in Setagaya district, Tokyo. Photo: Mainichi.

The idea of ​​​​installing a vending machine equipped with a radio that broadcasts disaster warnings originated from a call from real estate company Suzuka Community in Suzuka city, Mie prefecture, Japan.

The company also manages the local radio station and has been developing the radio since 2017, and is calling on radio stations across the country to adopt the same model. Installation costs are covered by the vending machine management unit, so there is no financial burden for broadcasters.

According to Suzuka Community, 30 radio stations nationwide have contracted and installed the equipment. The company hopes to increase the number of installation locations and plans to cooperate with stations with wider broadcast coverage such as Tokyo FM.

“I have always been concerned about disaster prevention and have always wondered about the options to convey urgent information to people, when they are on the street,” said Masahiko Kato, president of Suzuka Community. “The rapid transmission of information by radio will make vending machines a lifesaver.”

Duc Trung (Theo Mainichi)

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