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Okinawa public signs to become foreigner-friendly

Date Posted: 2003-04-18

Foreigners traveling around Okinawa will soon find themselves in a more friendly environment. Public signs on Okinawa’s parks, roads and public buildings now written in western alphabet will be changed to make them more understandable to foreign residents and visitors. The Cabinet Office made the announcement, announcing that the Okinawa General Bureau plans to change about 1,300 signs in the prefecture over the next five years. The signs are currently straight translations of Japanese words to western letters, and are not always easy for foreigners to understand.

The bureau will also standardize commonly used names for places and objects, a cause of confusion--and sometimes amusement--among foreigners who come upon them.

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