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Tuesday, 3rd November 2009
In General Japan News,

X marks the spot for Japanese inspiration

Anyone looking down on Oxford Circus in London might be forgiven for thinking they were viewing a road junction in Tokyo, Japan.

That is because the intersection has been given a new look which features diagonal pedestrian crossings.

Vehicles are now stopped in all directions at once, allowing pedestrians to cross any one of the incoming roads.

However, they can also choose to cross two at once by heading directly across the centre of the junction, with X-shaped routes marked on the road surface.

The move is inspired by similar junctions in Tokyo, as London mayor Boris Johnson explains.

He says: "This is a triumph for British engineering, Japanese innovation and old-fashioned common sense."

"We've brought one of the world's greatest crossroads into the 21st century," he adds.

In Japan itself, meanwhile, rail passengers could soon expect better levels of customer service.

A new computer system is being used to analyse the smiles of employees on Tokyo rail services, in order to help them appear friendlier to customers.

Written by Mark Smith