Loos You Can Use: Japan to Simplify Toilets

Japan has been drawing record numbers of tourists in recent years and Tokyo is expecting millions of visitors when it hosts the Olympic Games in 2020.

Using a toilet can be a grueling adventure in Japan with an intimidating phalanx of buttons greeting a person when they sit on the throne.

"We believe Japan can enhance its charm by making sure that people coming from overseas can use toilets, which are clean and comfortable, without stress", said Madoka Kitamura, head of the association and president of industry leader Toto Ltd. According to a survey conducted in 2014, one-fourth of some 600 foreigners said they could not understand some of the symbols on the toilet buttons.

The eight new symbols show users how to flush [large and small], open and close the lid, activate the front and back cleanse and drying functions, and trigger the off switch. The association will also aim to have the new symbols adopted as worldwide standards.

Japanese toilet industry agrees to standardize complex bidet controls
Symbols for toilet functions to be unified

17 that it will unify eight pictograms that indicate each of the functions for toilet seats with built-in bidets.

The association says the new pictograms will help accomplish its stated mission of "communicating the clean toilet culture to people all over the world" and hopefully create "a toilet environment that anyone can use with peace of mind".

But now an industry group has chose to flush away this confusion that particularly bogs down foreign tourists by unifying the confusing symbols.




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