Tuesday, May 19, 2020

900 Indians stranded in Japan wait for rescue flights as visas end, funds vanish over months

Tokyo: A large number of Indian nationals are stranded in Japan for over almost 2 months now. While some reached Japan on a business trip, some were on company contracts who were to return to India in March or April. But as the Indian government called for a complete nationwide lockdown on March 25, they were informed that their flight bookings were no longer valid.

Now with their visas expiring, contracts ending and no medical insurance in hand, over 900 Indians stranded in Japan stare at an uncertain future.

Soon after the lockdown announcement, the Indian nationals took to Twitter and other social media platforms to send an SOS message to the Indian government and Indian embassy in Tokyo.

As the government announced its second phase of the evacuation plan for Indians stranded across 31 nations under the Vande Bharat Mission, these stranded nationals in Japan saw a ray of hope to return home.
After a social media post by the Indian embassy in Tokyo, the people quickly filled forms to be shortlisted for return. But only two flights to Mumbai and Delhi on May 28 and June 1 have been confirmed by the government so far.

The Air India flight that is scheduled to fly out Indians from Narita International Airport in Tokyo has the maximum capacity to accommodate only 200 people without any in-flight social distancing.
Now, the question is what about the remaining Indians who are still stranded across the Japanese archipelago. Most of them belong to the southern Indian states who were not shortlisted by the embassy to board the flights to Mumbai or Delhi.

On the other hand, most of these people who are stranded in Tokyo and other parts of Japan were visiting the country on contracts that expired long ago and some of them even had to vacate their residences. Moreover, they do not have any medical insurance and in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it is a matter of concern for them as medical aid in Japan is an extremely expensive affair.
19/05/20 Paulomi Barman/India Today
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