japan toilet
Japan has become known for its innovative toilets designs Getty

Japan is hosting a competition to invent the most comfortable, cheapest and "safest for woman" toilets ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The country, known for its unique designs and inventions, is holding its first ever design competition for lavatories to not only make Japan known for having the "world's best restrooms", but also to "empower women" because by "improving comfort, cleanliness and safety, the quality of work and leisure can improve dramatically".

At the launch of the competition in Tokyo, organisers said it is important that toilets make females feel safe, especially in developing countries, according to Haruko Arimura, minister in charge of women's empowerment.

The initiative, which will see applications submitted to a government panel, will also form part of their plans to improve hospitality for foreign visitors ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The competition is also looking how to make environmentally friendly toilets which can be used in disaster areas, as well as ideas on how to make toilets easier for "foreigners and physically disabled people".

A leaflet produced by the organisers was distributed at a press conference for the competition's launch, with tips for foreigners who may be confused on how to use some of Japan's more technologically advanced toilets.

The competition will be judged by a panel of seven based on five criteria - cleanliness, safety, comfort, novelty/creativity, and sustainability – with the winners announced in September.