Japan to trial disaster warning system using social networks

Japan to trial disaster warning system using social networks

Summary: An Internet-based system will undergo trials in Q3 this year, drawing lessons from 2011 natural disasters which cut off conventional emergency hotlines due to power shortages and disrupted infrastructure.

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Japan will put to the test a disaster warning system which makes use of social networking services in summer this year, drawing lessons from the catastrophic natural disasters in 2011 which cut telephone lines and emergency hotlines.

According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, the system will leverage the Internet, which is more accessible than telephone lines in times of disaster and help in mobilizing prompter assistance, in a report Wednesday by the Japan Times.

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Japan is trialing a new disaster warning system using social networks.

The test in the third quarter of the year will simulate people affected by disasters and using their computers or mobile phones to summon for help via such sites as Twitter and Japan’s social networking site mixi, noted the report.

Japan Times added ground rules will be created to manage the system, including measures to deal with false reports.

It noted the 119 emergency number was unable to connect with about 25 percent of the fire departments in the municipalities hit by the megaquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in March 2011. This was due to power cuts and broken telecommunications connections.

Last October, the Japanese government said it was also improving on its current disaster alert system, J-alert to enable it to disseminate emergency information via mobile devices, cable TV and radio.

Topics: Networking, Japan, Social Enterprise

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Loves caption contests, leisurely strolls along supermarket aisles and watching How It's Made. Ryan has covered finance, politics, tech and sports for TV, radio and print. He is also co-author of best seller "Profit from the Panic". Ryan is an editor at ZDNet's Asia/Singapore office.

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