As a non-Japanese who resides in the greater Tokyo area, I found the story “Japan struggles to offer translated updates on virus” in the Feb. 19 newspaper very distressing.

While it’s entirely understandable (and proper) that the health ministry is concentrating on providing emergency medical information in Japanese, this country is making a huge play for foreign tourists. Well, government officials, please understand that true hospitality means looking after your guests during a medical emergency.

Can you imagine the international condemnation Japan would face if there’s a health-related crisis, even a minor one, during the Olympics — when all the world will come to Tokyo — and the government can’t muster up even basic information in other languages?

But losing face on the world stage is just a minor component of all this. What’s really important is that people are visiting Japan right now, and they are frightened and want helpful information they can easily understand.

Japan loves taking their tourist money, but these people are more than a revenue source. They are human beings and they need help.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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