Foreign journalists in Japan have expressed concern to the Foreign Ministry about the high cost of hotel accommodations for July’s Group of Eight summit in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture.
The Foreign Press in Japan, a group within the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan comprising non-Japanese journalists, said in a recent letter to the ministry’s Summit Secretariat that its 200-odd members from 150 to 160 foreign news organizations “are finding it difficult to locate hotel rooms close to the summit at affordable prices.”
“The host country is responsible for providing the working press with proper working conditions and acceptable logistics,” the letter says. “It was Japan’s decision to locate the bulk of the meetings in Okinawa Prefecture and (it) thus needs to ensure that it can meet these conditions at the location it has chosen to hold this important meeting.”
Yoshiyuki Motomura, the secretariat’s secretary general, said the government is aware of foreign journalists’ concerns about lodgings for the July 21-23 summit.
“Although it is basically an issue (for the hotel industry), we are studying the issue in cooperation with Okinawa Prefecture.
“We are trying to make foreign journalists’ stays as comfortable as possible,” Motomura told Kyodo News, noting 3,000 Japanese journalists and 1,000 foreign journalists are expected to descend on Okinawa to cover the summit.
The G8 members are Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and Russia.
Koji Niimoto, of Okinawa Prefecture’s accommodations reservation center for the summit, noted that the event is taking place at a time when seasonal demand for lodging by vacationers peaks.
“We are receiving requests for business hotels rather than expensive hotels,” he said, noting the 196-room Kanucha Bay Hotel and Villas, the designated hotel for wire services, does not have single rooms.
A double room is 51,700 yen, or 25,850 yen per person, and the price for a six-person room is 64,900 yen, or 10,817 yen per person, according to the hotel.
But the Foreign Press in Japan said in the letter to the Foreign Ministry, “Due to time differences, most (journalists) can be expected to work almost around the clock, and correspondents deserve to get a few hours rest without being disrupted in dormitory-like conditions with people sharing beds and bathrooms, coming and going.”