Hotline launched to assist Thais in Japan


BANGKOK, Feb 17 —   Thai Foreign Ministry deputy spokesperson Sek Wannamethee said today that the Thai government has opened a hotline to assist in a timely manner Thai nationals who are stuck in a major blizzard on Japan’s Honshu Island.

Mr Sek told reporters that heavy snow has closed roads and forced airports to cancel flights, while many people were forced to evacuate the snowbound areas.

Thai tourists in Japan have been urged to keep at least three-day supplies of food and drinking water on hand, while avoiding air travel and driving in hazardous weather conditions during this week and that they should prepare for another round of blizzards on Wednesday and Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Thai embassy in Japan has launched a contact centre to assist Thai citizens  around the clock. Those needing help are urged to dial ++81 90 4435 7812 and leave their names, addresses in Japan as well as contact numbers. Mr Sek said the callers should leave a message if the line is busy and embassy staff will contact them back.

Mr Sek asks that those with a 15-day valid stay visas to immediately contact the embassy via ++81 3 5789 2439 and leave their names and passport number and later fax passport copies to the embassy.

According to Mr Sek, the number of Thai nationals in Japan cannot be determined as yet since many arrived with tour agents and have been stayed in their hotels during the storms. However, as many as 450,000 Thai people reportedly visited Japan last year following a visa exemption arrangement between the Thai and Japanese governments. (MCOT online news)