Status Report on LINE Fukuoka COVID-19 Related Co-creation Projects with Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Jisho, Nishi-Nippon Railroad, and the Bank of Fukuoka

LINE Fukuoka Corporation (“LINE Fukuoka”; Location: Hakata Ward, Fukuoka; Representative Director, President, and Chief Executive Officer: Noritaka Ochiai) is pleased to announce a status report as of June on usage for several COVID-19 related projects that have been undertaken since February.

The six features reported in this article are a product of considerable co-operation with all parties involved, with preparation being completed in as little as two days, and are currently very popular. These initiatives were not realized by just LINE Fukuoka, but:

• FJ. Entertainment Works Ltd. (Location: Hakata Ward, Fukuoka; Representative Director: Yasunori Koga), of Fukuoka Jisho Co., Ltd Group, that operates the commercial facilities such as Konoha Mall Hashimoto
• Nishi-Nippon Railroad Co., Ltd. (“Nishi-Nippon Railroad”; Location: Hakata Ward, Fukuoka; Representative Director and President: Sumio Kuratomi), which offers a key transportation infrastructure to residents with roughly 370 million passengers each year (including Nishitetsu rail and its bus group)
• The Bank of Fukuoka, Ltd. (“The Bank of Fukuoka”; Location: Chuo Ward, Fukuoka; Representative Director and President: Takashige Shibato), the top shareholding financial institution in the Kyushu and Okinawa area
• Fukuoka City
• LINE Fukuoka, operator of “LINE” – the everyday communication tool used by 84 million people domestically

As well as private businesses and members of the local government, each with their own strengths and assets. We believe that we were able to deliver these projects more quickly, and in an easy to use design, because of co-creation that let each member focus on their strengths, and cover each other’s weaknesses.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who worked with us once again, and share with you the usage status of these initiatives as of June. (Values are taken from June 10, 2020)

¹ Verification testing began in August 2019, and the feature is already completed. The number of days above reflects the preparation time to install the feature after the food court re-opened following COVID-19 related closures .

Six initiatives to stop the spread of COVID-19 and their usage status

1) The Fukuoka City LINE Official Account
We added the following features to the Fukuoka City LINE Official Account, which is already regularly used by many people. The account had 1.64 million registered friends as of February 21, and increased by about 40,000 in just three months to 1.68 million.

① The “Novel Coronavirus Information Compilation” feature

When Fukuoka City confirmed its first COVID-19 case on February 20, the Novel Coronavirus Information Compilation feature was added the next day. As of June 10, the feature has been used 99,178 times.

② A feature to provide support for COVID-19 special cash payment inquiries

The special cash payment was introduced as a part of Japan’s emergency economic measures against COVID-19, and the Special Cash Payment Support chatbot was added to the account to eliminate questions that Fukuoka residents may have when applying, and ensure smooth operation in payment. This feature was released on May 11, after the additional budget for the special cash payment was approved on April 30.

On May 29, additional language support for five other languages besides Japanese (English, Korean, Chinese (Simplified), Vietnamese, and Nepalese) was added to the feature for overseas residents living in Fukuoka.
It has been used over 100,000 times since its release a month ago, with 101,369 uses as of June 10.

2) Cooperation with Fukuoka City in a promotion for delivery services

Expectations for delivery and take-out options increased following the announcement of the State of Emergency, when many restaurants were closed and residents were voluntarily self-isolating.

LINE Fukuoka participated as the representative planner in Fukuoka City’s recruitment for a project aimed at promoting voluntary-self isolation by offering delivery service for restaurants. One of Japan’s largest delivery services Demae-can Corporation (“Demae-can”; Location: Osaka Prefecture, Osaka City), LINE Corporation (“LINE”; Location: Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo; Representative Director, President, and Chief Executive Officer: Takeshi Idezawa) operated service “LINE Delima” and NTT Docomo Corporation (“Docomo”; Location: Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo; Representative Director and President: Kazuhiro Yoshizawa) operated service “d delivery” carried out a collaborative promotion offering JPY 500 of points back for all orders over JPY 1,000.
The promotion started on April 18, and received positive feedback from people and businesses that used the service.
Note: This promotion was scheduled to end on May 6, but was extended to May 31 due to its popularity.

3) The full-scale launch of “Konoha * Smart Order” for ordering, payment, and pickup notifications to avoid close contact in the food court

Accompanying the re-opening of the food court in Konoha Mall Hashimoto, operated by Fukuoka Jisho Co., Ltd Group Corporation FJ. Entertainment Works Ltd., the “Konoha * Smart Order” LINE Official Account for ordering and payment was released.

In this proposal, verification testing aimed at reducing crowding was already conducted in a collaboration with the same company, but public release of the account was delayed due to the impact of COVID-19.
Following the lifting of the State of Emergency on May 14, restaurants in the food court were scheduled to re-open on May 18. The feature was publicly released so that diners could fully expect to avoid close contact in ordering, paying for their food, and waiting in line.

The account has now increased its registered friends to 2,520.

4) Congestion information for Nishitetsu rail and buses delivered through a dedicated LINE Official Account

Following the lifting of the State of Emergency, demand for buses and trains was expected to rise. LINE Fukuoka worked together to release a new feature that delivers congestion information on buses and trains operating in the central Fukuoka area on two Nishi-Nippon Railroad operated LINE Official Accounts.

All communication for the project took place online, and was completed in eight days. After the feature released, the Nishitetsu Bus account’s registered friends increased from 11,170 to 17,044 (a 50% increase) and the Nishitetsu Train account increased from 2,899 friends to 9,732 (a 230% increase).

5) Congestion information delivery through a LINE Official Account for all Bank of Fukuoka branches

A new feature was added to the Bank of Fukuoka LINE Official Account that lets people check congestion information at all branches.

People can check congestion information in three levels – “vacant,” “crowded,” and “very crowded,” and also get up-to-date information on how many people are waiting in line. It is now easier to avoid times when the bank is busy, or go to a different branch that is not busy, because you can look up congestion information easily.

Timely execution made possible thanks to co-creation, online communication, and utilization of existing services

In addition to working together with other companies and organizations that have different strengths, we also believe that the following two points are the background of why we were able to complete the multiple measures above in a short period of time.

① Speedy online communication
LINE Fukuoka gradually increased the scale of work from home policies as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and moved to a recommended work from home system for all employees in April. During this period, a large portion of communication for advancing each of our projects took place online.

Thanks to a quick response from everyone involved, we could reduce travel time, and communicate in a timely fashion using teleconferencing and chat tools, which led to speedy progress.

② Utilizing existing services
By improving the foundation of services that already exist and are being used, and not just developing new services from scratch, we were able to drastically reduce preparation time.

Aiming for “Life on LINE” – A life infrastructure closely related to the daily lives of users

The LINE Group will continue to undertake various initiatives to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as features to offer communication support for those separated from their family and friends, useful features for temporary school cancellations and remote work, as well as projects related to health consultations and infection prevention.

LINE Fukuoka, as LINE’s second domestic base, will continue to strive to realize its vision of a “Life on LINE,” in which we will “pursue ‘WOW’ by becoming a life infrastructure that leverages lifestyle innovations to support all aspects of users’ lives” 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in the era of the “new normal.”