Breakdowns disrupt the services of the number 2 telecommunications in Japan | Technology

By MARI YAMAGUCHI – Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Many users of Japan’s second-largest mobile operator KDDI Corp. were still struggling to make calls on Monday after a massive outage throughout the weekend that affected nearly 40 million people, disrupting deliveries, weather reports and other services across the country.

The company said data transmission was largely restored Monday morning, but service restrictions still prevented many users from making phone calls and sending short messages.

The outage began in the early hours of Saturday during scheduled maintenance work at a facility in western Tokyo.

It disabled text messaging, phone calls and other services for more than 39 million KDDI mobile service users. Parcel deliveries were also disrupted.

Over the weekend, the Meteorological Agency was unable to send weather data to hundreds of stations, dozens of ATMs were disabled in central Japan and Tokyo and other municipalities have struggled to reach COVID-19 patients undergoing home medical monitoring.

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The major outage came just before parliamentary elections on July 10 and was seen as an embarrassment to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government, which is promoting the digitalization of the world’s third-largest economy.

The government was quick to respond to public concerns about the problem.

“It is extremely regrettable that the mobile phone service, which is a crucial infrastructure for social and economic activity, has been unusable for so long,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara told reporters on Monday.

He said the government was taking the situation “seriously” and urged KDDI to provide a thorough explanation. Kihara said he expects KDDI to “sincerely” consider compensation for potential damage claims from users.

On Sunday, KDDI Chairman Makoto Takahashi apologized and provided an initial explanation of what happened and the prospects for resuming interrupted services.

“We consider this to be a serious incident,” Interior Affairs and Communications Minister Yasushi Kaneko said on Sunday. The outage was particularly unfortunate as it disrupted emergency calls at a time when people were facing heightened risks of COVID-19 and heatstroke and potential emergencies due to an approaching typhoon.

An outage last year by rival NTT DoCoMo affected nearly 13 million people.

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