A telephone counseling service for foreign workers in Japan who have overstayed their visas will be offered on Friday and Saturday by a group of their supporters.

The hotline, organized by the Tokyo-based Asian People’s Friendship Society, will be available in seven languages — English, Chinese, Korean, Bengalese, Urdu, Persian and Hindu. Many foreign workers without proper visas often face problems such as unpaid wages and those related to international marriages, child-rearing and language barriers, but do not know where to ask for help, the group said.

According to the Immigration Control Office, nearly 277,000 foreigners were overstaying their visas as of Jan. 1, 1998. The group estimates that the total number of foreigners in Japan without proper visas is far greater if those who illegally entered the country are included. The free service will be available both days, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at (03) 3964-8739, (03) 3961-7996 and by fax at (03) 3579-0197.

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