It was common belief that mobile phones can interfere with pacemakers. The perceived fear of electromagnetic interference from the mobile phones have seen stickers like the below on Yamanote Line trains near the priority seating asking the passengers to keep their mobile phones turned off in that area. Announcements also used to repeat this on JR Lines, Metro, etc.With the low power 3G mobiles making their debut, these concerns had no strong backing of data which suggested such cases occur. I have personally seen many people who in-spite of the rules used to be using their phones and tablets in that area. Seniors regularly used to complain and small arguments is what I have very regularly witnessed.
Japan’s internal affairs and communication ministry in its recent research concluded that electromagnetic waves from cellphones in use since July 2012 could interfere with some medical devices if put within 3 cm distance and the the strength of the phone’s interference and the level of the pacemaker’s receiver sensitivity are set at maximum. How realistic is this scenario can be a subjective guess, but companies in Kanto (East Japan) have taken the step to relax the rules and bring in a new sticker which you can see pasted in Yamanote Line, starting today.Turn off when crowded is the new normal, wonder what the people who had arguments with fellow passengers earlier feel today…. The mobile phone users vindicated probably?
The new rule probably is to define that in an extremely crowded scenario, the devices may accidentally get into proximity of less than 3 cms and put someone at risk? Also, how does one define crowded? Very subjective. For me unable to seat and required to stand is crowded, while for some it may mean the morning rush hour….. we will see.