Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on March 2010

Pet owners in Japan probably don’t think too hard about how much their pride and joy costs in food and vet bills, so the ¥525 a month NTT is charging for its new Wan Nyumber pet-finder service is likely neither here nor there. In a nutshell, the plan involves giving each animal a dog (or cat) tag with a personalized telephone number, which connects to an NTT call center whenever a lost pet is, er, found. The scheme protects the owners’ privacy because they don’t have to put their own phone number on a tag or one of those “Have you seen Tiddles?” posters. There’s also no need to reprogram embedded microchips, if the animal has one. Best of all—if you’re a pothead, that is—NTT offers a range of designer tags decorated with a rainbow of marijuana leaves. What’s up with that?