Initiatives to Address Globalization
Enhancing Universal Design of JNTO Tourist Information Center (TIC) for Overseas Visitors
Commissioned by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), Mitsubishi Estate has been operating the JNTO Tourist Information Center for overseas visitors (JNTO TIC) in the Marunouchi area since January 2012.
Since its establishment, Mitsubishi Estate has put efforts into universal design that can be easily accessed by all people including overseas visitors that are elderly or have disabilities. In April 2019, Mitsubishi Estate further enhanced the universal design in terms of both the physical and human environment. In light of the recent increase in the number of elderly and disabled overseas visitors to Japan, Mitsubishi Estate entrusted supervision of the improvements to Inclu Marunouchi, a facility that supports employment for people with disabilities in the Marunouchi area, while also referring to feedback from travelers with disabilities.
In the physical environment, Mitsubishi Estate introduced tactile paving and Braille Neue, a new style of braille that can be read with both the eyes and the fingers by overwriting letters onto braille. Mitsubishi Estate also improved the human environment, which includes the staff of JNTO TIC taking the Universal Manners Test (UMT).
As a progressive tourist information service that can be used in comfort by all visitors to Japan, JNTO TIC will also work to share its knowledge on support for universal design in such ways as hosting inspection tours by tourism information centers from all over Japan.
Braille Neue, a new style of braille that can be read with both the eyes and the fingers
Staff from Inclu Marunouchi checking the braille
Enabling Easier Use of Commercial Facilities by International Visitors
Junko Chihira, the tourist information android
Multilingual digital touch-panel sign
Aqua City Odaiba, which is managed and operated by Mitsubishi Jisho Property Management, has introduced multilingual information personnel, floor guides, and a website, as well as a multilingual interpretation service*1 in order to improve the services provided to international travelers, whose numbers have been increasing.
Additionally, we installed multilingual digital touch-panel signage in January 2014 in a program that qualified for the Tokyo Waterfront City MICE Hub Promotion Project*2 promoted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and in November of the same year we installed nighttime illumination along the West Promenade. Furthermore, in a program that qualifies for the Tokyo Waterfront City Hospitality Advancement Project,*3 we have stationed a tourist information android named Junko Chihira, developed by Toshiba, who speaks three languages (Japanese, English, and Chinese) at Aqua City Odaiba since November 2015. In March 2016, we increased the number of building information signs that accommodate four languages (five written languages: Japanese, English, Korean, and Chinese in simplified and traditional characters). In March 2019, we introduced a conversation-style AI concierge named "infobot," that speaks five languages (Japanese, English, Korean, and simplified and traditional Chinese) in a program that qualifies for the Tokyo Waterfront City Urban Development Project.*4 We have been promoting two-way communication of information through these efforts to provide multilingual support. At the same time, we not only provide information on the building, but have also included local tourism information to strengthen strategies promoting inbound tourism.
Furthermore, Mitsubishi Estate and Mitsubishi Jisho Property Management began distributing "Voice Translation for Customers," a proprietary translation app developed specifically for commercial businesses to serve customers, to approximately 45 commercial facilities in the Marunouchi and Yokohama areas in November 2016. This app is intended to improve the services provided to international tourists and foreign workers in these areas. It uses the multilingual voice translation app developed by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) as its underlying system. During its test period, feedback from roughly 1,000 commercial tenants was referenced, and 3,000 words and phrases useful for providing service were added.
- This is a service that assists international travelers who speak English, Chinese, or Korean and have difficulty making themselves understood to store staff when they shop. It supports them by allowing store staff to communicate through a call center interpretation operator.
- This is a project to subsidize private companies recognized as being highly effective contributors to establish the Tokyo Waterfront City as a MICE destination and international tourist hub — an initiative by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to establish the Tokyo Waterfront City as a major center for MICE and international tourism. "MICE" is an acronym for "Meetings, Incentive travel, Conventions, and Exhibitions."
- This is a subsidy system established by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to facilitate the success of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and to establish the Tokyo Waterfront City as a MICE destination and international tourist hub by encouraging the creation of new tourism-related resources by private companies in the Tokyo Waterfront City and by developing a receptive environment for international visitors.
- This is a subsidy system established by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to support the efforts of private companies to improve support for diverse visitors, develop more comfortable spaces, and create a lively atmosphere that adds new appeal in the Tokyo Waterfront City to enhance its overall brand value when implementing development.
Universal Restaurant Embracing Diverse Food Cultures
The menu is compatible with a wide range of diets.
Greater consideration for food cultures and religious food restrictions have become an issue in the hotel and restaurant industry. This is especially true for Muslim workers and visitors that only eat halal food, made without alcohol or pork. Few restaurants provide halal dishes, causing Muslims to feel anxious about their dietary restrictions.
Floral, a restaurant and banquet in the Yokohama Royal Park Hotel, caters to customers with a range of diets, including vegan and gluten-free, as well as halal, under the concept of "universal food and hospitality." The restaurant has put together a dedicated team for halal food in an effort to optimize the entire process from the purchase of food ingredients and seasonings to the management and preparation process, and the facilities and equipment. The restaurant has received halal certification from the Japan Halal Foundation, a public organization.