Japan to end tourists' toilet trouble with standardised buttons

Navigating the array of buttons on Japan’s high-tech toilets can be a disconcerting experience for the uninitiated, who, expecting to hear a familiar flushing sound, are instead subjected to a sudden, and unwanted, cleansing of the nether regions, according to The Guardian.

As Japan prepares for an influx of overseas visitors during the 2019 rugby World Cup and the Tokyo Olympics the following year, the country’s sanitation industry has agreed to standardise pictograms on toilets so users know for certain if they are about to receive a blast of warm air or a jet of water.

Nine manufacturers belonging to the Japan sanitary equipment industry association will soon start using the same eight symbols to explain the buttons found on their state-of-the-art WCs.

At a launch event this week, the firms said they had agreed to simplify the pictography in response to complaints from tourists that they are confused by symbols that differ depending on the make of toilet.

The eight new symbols show users how to flush (large and small), open and close the lid, activate the front and back cleanse and drying functions, and trigger the off switch.

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