Public pay phones turned out to be a vital lifeline during the major earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan eight years ago, as they tended to work even when cell phone networks went down. Most children these days are unfamiliar with them, which is something a telecom firm is working to change.
NTT East surveyed parents with children in elementary school. Nearly 80 percent said their sons or daughters do not know about pay phones or have never used them.
To encourage awareness of pay phones, the company has set up a website aimed specifically at children.
The site has quizzes and videos to help explain how to use the phones. It also features a pay-phone locater.
NTT East says it will add a virtual-reality experience, so children can play at finding a pay phone and making a call on the site.
Eri Shimamura of NTT East said, "We hope children can use pay phones regularly and get used to different kinds so they're prepared when disaster strikes."
The company also says it wants children to make sure they know the key numbers to call in an emergency.