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Friday, 24th July 2009
In General Japan News,

Smiles under scrutiny in Japan

Railway workers in Japan are set to be subject to checks to make sure they are smiling broadly enough to serve customers.

The Keihin Electric Railway has come up with a "Smile Scan" system at a number of its 72 stations, which use software to access the curve of the mouth

In total, the smiles of staff at 14 stations will be checked for chirpiness, with grinners also given a score and a comment on their smile, such as "your smile is getting better" or "smile like you're happy".

Asami Takahashi, who works for the railway company, said that the scheme is useful for customer interaction.

In a demonstration for the Associated Press, worker Mitsue Endo's initial grim smile gets a score of zero, but after breaking into a wide grin, she gets a score of 70 from the machine.

She said that smiling can help to create a relaxed atmosphere in the workplace.

Written by Susan Ballion.