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NHK World updates app to issue disaster alerts in English

Thanks to a new feature added on Feb 01 to an app offered by NHK World, the public broadcaster now gives tourists and residents in Japan who don’t speak Japanese, earthquake and tsunami alerts.

They will have the choice of turning on notifications for earthquake and tsunami warnings as well as breaking news alerts. The breaking news alerts will include warnings and updates on weather-related incidents, such as volcanic eruptions and typhoons.

The alerts will be available for people who download the free app — called NHK World TV — and turn on push notifications in its settings menu. Although the notifications are available only in English, NHK plans to introduce a Chinese option later this year.

The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake taught us many important lessons,” said Shogo Takahashi, editor in chief of an NHK World news program. “At times it was difficult for officials and (the) media to communicate effectively to people who could not understand Japanese.”