Japan is considering a revamp of its stop signs to suit easily confused tourists, The Japan Times reported recently. Japan’s current signs are fun and different, but they’re also red triangles that look suspiciously like the yield signs in the U.S. and other nations.
“Japanese drivers are familiar with the existing signs, but now that we need to think more globally we are considering an alternative that would be easier for foreign people to understand,” an official with the country’s National Police Agency (NPA) told the Times.
Japan is indeed in the midst of a pretty major tourist boom. An estimated 19.7 million foreigners visited Japan in 2015, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization, a 10-percent jump from the year previous. In 2020, Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently raised the Games’ tourism target from 20 million people to 30 million.
Though the Olympics shouldn’t see a gigantic spike in car rentals (much of the city is connected by a sprawling and, yes, complicated transit network), a bunch of British, Mexican, Burundian, and Thai drivers/athletes careening off the roads does not good press make.
The stop-sign makeover would not come cheap. The government estimates the bill for replacing every sign in Japan with a more “global” design would total 25 billion yen, or $214 million.