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Toilet makers flush away confusing pictograms

Toilet makers flush away confusing pictograms

The toilet manufacturers plan to implement the eight new pictogram on models released from this year onward, with a view to the system becoming an global standard.

Nine firms under the Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association will replace the complicated signs in bathrooms with the same eight symbols used worldwide to explain the buttons.

TOKYO-Makers of Japanese toilets said they would standardize the icons on the panels of the country's high-tech toilet seats to avoid bafflement among foreign tourists. 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 hope is that the new pictograms will make things easier for non-Japanese speakers.

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But now an industry group has made a decision to flush away this confusion that particularly bogs down foreign tourists by unifying the confusing symbols. After years of befuddlement from foreigners visiting Japan and experiencing the bewildering array of options on smart toilet-come-bidets, the industry has got together, squatted round a table and pushed through a standardised set of controls.

The sanitation industry in Japan has agreed to simplify pictograms in the country's hi-tech toilets so users can follow them easily.

Much of Japan is now engaged in a rush to make itself more welcoming to tourists ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and icon design has often been at the forefront of debate.

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