Last updated at 12:44 BST, Friday, 01 June 2012

Japan's radiation phone

Summary

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.

Reporter:

Roland Buerk

A young woman looking at mobile phones

What will mobile phone providers think of next?

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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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Vocabulary

features

characteristics

measure

calculate

bad breath

unpleasant smell coming from a person's mouth

handset

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

reassurances

guarantees, offers of confidence

conventional

ordinary

clubbed together

combined as a group