Shibuya Ward officials are planning to provide 3,000 smartphones to senior residents with paid data plans as part of their initiative to teach the elderly how to use technology, especially during natural disasters.
Government officials in Shibuya came up with the idea during the powerful typhoons that hit Tokyo in 2019.
Local authorities discovered elderly people had the most trouble getting up to date information about disaster warnings and evacuations.
Technological literacy would also be extremely beneficial amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It would help them fill up government paperwork online and eventually lessen the number of people crowding government buildings to line up.
Local officials expect the initiative to cost around 365 million yen ($3.5 million) for the smartphones, lessons and data plans for the elderly.
Any other additional expenses, such as game purchases or website memberships, would be covered by the smartphone owners.
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