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The end of the pay phone? Japanese government considering getting rid of them

21 Comments
By Katie Pask, SoraNews24

For those of us who are old enough to remember life before the dawn of the cell phone age, pay phones were life-savers, whether you rang your dad to come and pick you up from swimming or called your mom, pretending you were staying at a friend’s house when really you were up to other nefarious deeds. But these days, the need for public phones is becoming less and less. Add that to the maintenance costs required to keep these almost obsolete relics going, and it’s fair to say the future doesn’t look bright for the humble pay phone.

Currently, pay phones are considered a ‘universal service‘ in Japan; a term meaning something that is easily available at an affordable price for all citizens. According to current regulations, city areas are required to have a public pay phone installed every 500 square meters, with non-city areas every kilometer. There are presently 110,000 pay phones dotted about Japan, with an extra 40,000 pay phones installed by companies, although according to statistics over the past 20 years their usage has dropped to just two percent of what it used to be.

As a result, the government are currently mulling over the idea of reducing the number of pay phones in Japan, and relocating existing pay phones to evacuation shelters, where they can be used in emergencies. Ryota Takeda from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications will consult with the Information and Communications Bureau to make a decision, which is expected to be made by June.

Netizens were torn about the government’s announcement.

“I don’t think I’ve used a pay phone in about 20 years.”

“I bought a mobile phone because there were less and less pay phones.”

“As long as they’re at convenience stores or hospitals, I don’t really care either way.”

“Even if I needed to use a pay phone, I don’t know anyone’s phone number anymore…”

“What about people who can’t afford cell phones? It’d be like you’re abandoning them.”

“While you’re at it, get rid of NHK too, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications!”

“I often see foreigners using them.”

Hopefully the decision to move Japan’s once-ubiquitous pay phones to emergency shelters will give them a new sense of purpose.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News/Yomiuri Shimbun via Otakomu

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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Bad idea. I still use them

13 ( +13 / -0 )

My friends beeper was turned off last year, and now this? He will go into shock.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

What happens when your phone dies, or you don't have a phone? Need to make an emergency call. Disaster times when mobile cells go down,

16 ( +16 / -0 )

“What about people who can’t afford cell phones? It’d be like you’re abandoning them.”

Agreed.

“While you’re at it, get rid of NHK too, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications!”

Disagreed.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

They are good to have in an emergency . . . . no everyone carries a cell phone . . . . .

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I plan to use one if there's a natural disaster. The landline network doesn't become immediately congested like cell phones and the internet do.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Bad idea. Many foreign travellers do not have phones that work in Japan, and cannot get Japanese carriers because they are not registered as residents. I faced the same situation in an "international" airport in the US, which had no public phones.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Why? Wouldn't it cost more to get rid of them then just leaving them there?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I times of disaster mobile services are the first to get switched off, and charging phones can be difficult.p, not to mention those who do not have a mobile. Public landlines should be available.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

They added an extra charge to the bill of all landlines to pay for the upkeep of public phones. I wonder if they will cancel this or whether they will just appropriate it, like they did with the ¥80,000 deposits everybody paid when they applied for a phone.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Get rid of fax machines first

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I think the number can be reduced a bit but they are useful

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And for people like me who don't have or want a mobile phone?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

My daughter is JHS and uses a public phone to call us if she needs picking up after school. We won't let her have a smartphone.

the ¥80,000 deposits everybody paid when they applied for a phone

Yeah, talk about the bad old days.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Has anyone actually seen a pay phone recently? 90% of them have been ripped up already.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

They are still useful. All pay phones offered by the local phone company should not be removed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

aw too bad, I love those phones!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The end of the pay phone? Japanese government considering getting rid of them

Um..., I guess most Japanese elderly people don't have smart phones and have to rely on a pay phone if an emergency arises when going out far away from home and have to make emergency contact with someone they know or else.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

...currently mulling over the idea of reducing the number of pay phones in Japan, and relocating existing pay phones to evacuation shelters, where they can be used in emergencies.

So, The Government wants to spend a ton of money to rip the pay-phones, and then pay even more have to move them into emergency shelters (which may already be within walking distance of such a facility per the universal service rules)?

In the words of Spock, "...his pattern exhibits...two-dimensional thinking."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

NO! What is the gov thinking. Or maybe they've stopped thinking

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan should "NEVER" get rid of the paytelephones. Paytelephones serve as a necessary function. What is one's cellular telephone malfunctions. Paytelephones serve as a contingency/Plan B to cellular telephones. In fact, the opposite should occur, paytelephones should be expanded. Just like when we are creating a document and we have a flash drive as a contingency or even a flash drive for a flash drive as a contingency.

In conclusion, it would be a mistake to get rid of paytelephones. In conclusion, paytelephones should expand and exist for eternity.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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