The Tokyo Metro and two Japanese telecom companies on Monday started testing a smartphone app to help pregnant women get seats while using public transport. The Ginza line of the Tokyo Metro will be used until Friday to test the feasibility of the app, which enables pregnant women to send a message - through the Line messaging app - to already registered users nearby who support the initiative by offering their seats, reports Efe news.
The system has been developed by Dai Nippon Printing Company, which aims to help people who are ready to offer their seats but fail to notice that pregnant women are nearby, according to a company statement. The pregnant women can send a message after boarding the train, which reaches only the nearby users, who in turn specify their location and leave the seat for the women, the first service of its kind according to the developers.
The app comes as Japan faces a low birth rate crisis and a rapidly ageing population, opening the possibility that the app could also be used for the elderly and differently abled people in the future. "We still have not fixed a launch date," a spokesperson of Dai Nippon Printing told Efe. At present, there are no plans to launch the app internationally.
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