The struggle to find an empty toilet cubicle in Japan is very real where time and space are at a premium.
A Japanese telecommunications firm is launching a Toilet Finder App in March that will let users know where the closest open public toilet is in their vicinity.
The app is meant to cut out unnecessary time wasting and increase productivity of Japanese workers who may find themselves spending time queuing to use the toilet.
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KDDI said the app, which will be available to businesses in March, will tell workers in participating buildings where they can find the nearest available bathroom stall.
“People often waste time by looking around for an available toilet on various floors or by waiting until one becomes available,” KDDI spokesman Daisuke Maruo told The Japan Times. “We believe this service will help people waste less time.”
The app uses sensors installed on the stall doors to determine whether they are occupied or available for use.
The sensors also notify an administrator if a toilet stall is occupied for more than 30 minutes, a service the company says is designed to notify bosses of potential accidents in the bathrooms, but could also be used to bust employees using the bathroom to avoid work — a 2012 survey indicated 30 percent of middle-aged businessmen in Japan use bathroom stalls to take naps at work.
“Even though people sometimes complain that the number of bathrooms in a building are not enough, it is often hard for facility administrators to increase the numbers,” Maruo said. “We believe this solution will help solve the problem by streamlining how bathrooms are used.”
The company said the service will be made available in office buildings next month, but could eventually be used at locations with high bathroom traffic, such as sports stadiums, train stations, and shopping malls.
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