A small town in Japan has begun giving out bar coded stickers to citizens who have dementia in a bid to help keep them safe if they wander off and become lost.

Iruma, a town north west of Tokyo, has a population of 150,000 with about 3,000 people thought to be in advanced stages of dementia.

QR code seals are being used in Japan to keep people safe

Last year local officials began issuing Quick Response (QR) code seals to families of elderly citizens to be worn on a fingernail as a discreet form of identification.

If someone comes across a person who is seemingly lost and confused but has a QR code on their fingernail, they can use a mobile phone to scan the code and find out who to call.

The words “City of Iruma” and its main switchboard number then appear on the phone.

A city official who answers the phone has access to records that identify the person and their contact information, so they can call a relative to collect the elderly person.

The seal is attached to a fingernail, and unlike a name tag it does not reveal the person’s identity or address to the public.

The QR seals are available at no cost but can only be requested by individuals or their families.

When the fingernail needs to be cut, a new seal is provided.