Cell phone signals could be causing malfunctions in pacemakers, causing Japanese train companies to rethink the services they offer.
Partially due to Japan’s aging population, in 2003, the Hankyu train company introduced a cell phone free car on each train, since a large number of people were concerned about the influence of cell phones signals on their pacemakers.
Knowing that if Hankyu didn’t shift their policy, their passengers wouldn’t feel safe, they had to cooperate and began offering cell phone free cars with other Kansai’s train companies.
In Japan’s past, if passengers with cell phones were less than 15 centimeters from a passenger with a pacemaker, they had to refrain from using it while near priority seats. Since 2003, management in Japan has shifted its policies as technology has advanced.
Recently, the management in the Kansai region acknowledged that 3G cell phone signals have a more minor affect on heart pacemakers, changing their policy from 15 centimeters to within three centimeters distance now, since 2G cell phones have a greater affect on pace makers and they are now rarely used.
Passengers still have to pay close attention when using their cell phones and smart phones, but now only within three centimeters when on the train, bus and in other crowded areas.
As for in the Kanto region, public transportation is always packed during the day, regardless of the time, unlike in Kansai where they have only two main rush hours. The companies in Kanto will not be introducing this policy because they said their trains are too crowded and their riders cannot give even three centimeters space for people with pacemakers.
In some Kansai trains, they have different coloured seating for priority people, something the TTC’s buses will also be implementing within the next two years, with Canada’s population also aging. They will be adopting priority seating like the TTC trains that have blue coloured seating. Some trains in Japan already have this set up, like in Hankyu and Keihan.
In Japan, you can now catch a cell phone signal even underground in the subway at the Tokyo Metro and on some lines in Kansai. This controversial matter will definitely continue to be talked about, alongside texting while walking for a while.