Japan's last pagers beep for the final time

Japan's last pagers beep for the final time

  • 1 October 2019
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Media captionRetro tech: When the pager was king

Thirty years ago, they were the must-have accessory for every sharp-elbowed business executive. But now, Japan's pagers have beeped for the final time.

The country's last pager provider, Tokyo Telemessage, closed its service on Tuesday.

Fewer than 1,500 subscribers remained, most of them health workers.

The last private subscriber was said to be Ken Fujikura, who kept his pager because it was his 80-year-old mother's preferred way of contacting him.

"Since only my mother knows the pager number, I knew [the pager notification] was from my mother," he told the Nikkan-Spa website. "With a phone, I wasn't sure it was urgent."

On Sunday, a Tokyo funeral company set up a tent near a railway station, so people could lay flowers and pay their respects to the end of the pokeberu, or pocket bell.

A photo of a pager displayed the message "1141064", Japanese pager code for "we love you".