Japan: Ginza shoppers sanitize hands, phones with high-tech wash stations


Tokyo, Japan – Shoppers washed their hands and sterilized their smartphones within the streets of Tokyo’s posh Ginza district on Saturday. They used handwashing stations that a Japanese start-up hopes will revolutionize access to clean water and better hygiene.

WOTA Corp founded 20 of its WOSH machines near popular Ginza stores. In an initiative with a vicinity association geared toward encouraging shoppers to clean their hands to stop the spread of the coronavirus.


Genius invention

The machines don’t require connection to running water and don’t use fresh and waste water tanks. Instead, they recycle the water through a three-stage process of membrane filtration, chlorine and deep ultraviolet irradiation.

They even have a tool that cleans smartphones through 20-30 seconds of UV exposure. This is done while users are washing their hands since touching a grimy smartphone would otherwise negate their handwashing efforts.

The firm had already been developing the machine partially to alleviate long lines at the restrooms. This is when the COVID-19 crisis hit early this year, Chief Executive Yosuke Maeda told Reuters.

“Amid the impact of COVID-19 we thought we had to implement this as soon as possible,” Maeda said. “So we sped up development and got things moving to own it in December in time for the third wave of the coronavirus.”

On average 20 litres of water provides around 500 washes, while the replacing of filters should be after about 2,000, he said.

The machine, however, needs a connection to an influence supply.

WOTA has now begun shipments within Japan of roughly 4,000 units. It aims to expand internationally next year, with many inquiries coming from the US.

Maeda hopes the smartphone feature particularly will transform hygiene habits.

“We thought if it had the smartphone sterilization function, maybe people that never wash their hands will start doing so,” he said.


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