Press Release 2002

Language Barrier Eliminated in Japan

Kawasaki, Japan, May 27, 2002 – Kaz Saruwatari, CEO of Planetworks Inc., today (May 27th, 2002) announced the launch of a service that will eliminate the language barrier facing international travelers visiting Japan. JapanAid ( provides travel information and interpretation services in real-time through the use of CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) technology.
The use of CTI technology allows JapanAid to offer high-quality services at less than half of the rate of their primary competitors. “We can offer lower rates and better service because CTI allows us to keep our overhead costs at a minimum,” stated Saruwatari from his office in Kawasaki, Japan. “Our services are provided by highly skilled staff members working from their homes. We utilize an optimized database system, that matches clients with the best possible staff member based on considerations like language, location, and areas of interest. Our matching gets better with time as our system ‘learns’ from customer feedback.”

When a traveler is planning their trip to Japan, they visit the JapanAid website ( and enter a personal profile, and the dates that they will be in Japan. At this point the client purchases prepaid Service Points, and can at their option also rent a cellular phone to use throughout their stay in Japan. The cellular phone rental in itself is a valuable service, as most cellular phones created for use outside of Japan will not work on Japan’s cellular networks.

“We serve customers in languages such as English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, French, and German, with web services available in English initially. We will be introducing web sites in other languages in the near future,” said Saruwatari.

Saruwatari’s inspiration for creating the service was found in his own childhood experience: “I spent a number of years in Panama when I was in Elementary school. During that time I spoke mostly English and Spanish. When I came back I felt like a foreigner, and got a taste of how difficult it can be to be a stranger in Japan.”

Clients are able to utilize the service for a wide variety of purposes. Travelers can get tips on the best places to go to get a taste of authentic Japanese culture or food. Staff members can help clients to get tickets to upcoming events, or even let them know what upcoming events may interest them. Business people can utilize the service in business meetings or to get directions to the place where their meeting will be held. JapanAid’s service can also be invaluable in emergency situations such as car accidents or visits to the emergency room.

JapanAid is now investigating the possibility of partnering with travel agents around the world to offer JapanAid service as part of vacation packages in Japan. “There is so much to see and do in Japan that is inaccessible to people because of the language-barrier. We have eliminated that obstacle,” beamed Saruwatari. “We aim to make peoples’ stay in Japan stress-free.” JapanAid will introduce special corporate rates in the near future, targeting companies that frequently do international business. JapanAid aims to make Japan a friendlier place for international travelers to visit. Large demand is expected during the Korea-Japan World Cup soccer tournament next month.

If you would like more information about JapanAid, please contact us by e-mail at, or via an international phone call to +81-44-850-2730.

JapanAid offers concierge and interpretation services in real-time to foreigners in Japan, on demand via the telephone. The service is available in English, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, German, French, Russian, and is expanding constantly. It is useful to a wide range of clients, from business people, to tourists, to expatriate residents in Japan, to use in emergency situations. Quality service is ensured by intelligent database matching that ‘learns’ from customer feedback.