New service in Japan will alert users to vacant toilet cubicles

Hunting around for an empty toilet cubicle may soon be a thing of the past - as least in Japan.

Japanese telecommunications operator KDDI will start a service in March informing people of the number of occupied cubicles at a particular location through their smartphone and computer, reported The Japan Times.

The closed doors are detected by sensors in the cubicle, with the data transmitted through the company's central computer system providing real-time updates of cubicle vacancy.

"People often waste time by looking around for an available toilet on various floors or by waiting until one becomes available," said KDDI spokesman Daisuke Maruo told The Japan Times.

"We believe this service will help people waste less time."

In addition, if the cubicle is occupied for too long, an e-mail will also be sent to a facility administrator in case of possible accidents.

The service will be launched first at office buildings, with plans to roll it out at sports stadiums, train stations and shopping malls.