1 June 2012
There is still widespread public concern in Japan following the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima last year. Now one of the country's mobile networks is planning to launch a phone with a built in radiation monitor.
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Japanese mobile phones are known for their advanced features – they can be used to swipe through barriers at train stations, watch television, or even measure body fat and tell the user if they have bad breath.
Now Softbank, a major mobile network, has launched a handset with a built-in Geiger counter. It has a button that users can press to see how much radiation they are being exposed to. Sales are likely to be driven by widespread fear over the meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power station last year.
Many Japanese say they don't trust reassurances from the Government and the plant's operator, TEPCO. Sales of conventional Geiger counters have soared and in some places people have clubbed together to buy expensive equipment to check for radiation in food.
Softbank is yet to announce a price for the radiation-monitoring phone, which will be released in the summer, saying only that it will be affordable.
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- bad breath
unpleasant smell coming from a person's mouth
device which can be carried, e.g. a mobile phone
- Geiger counter
detector for measuring radiation, named after its inventor Hans Geiger
- exposed to
left vulnerable to
- widespread fear
worry on a large scale
guarantees, offers of confidence
- clubbed together
combined as a group