Tokyo, Jan. 20 (Jiji Press)–As foreign visitors to Japan increase ahead of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games slated for this summer, so have cases of such visitors being embroiled in consumer problems.
The government-linked National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan’s multilingual consumer hotline received a total of 283 consultations in the year since being launched in December 2018. About 60 pct of the consultations were in Chinese, while English was the second-most common language for such calls.
Consumer complaints spiked during the Rugby World Cup, held in Japan last autumn.
Calls regarding accommodation-related issues were the most common type of consultations, followed by those regarding food, such as problems eating out or ordering food deliveries.
Almost all complaints about issues related to shopping for items such as cosmetics and watches were made in Chinese.
Some calls were made even before the visitors arrived in Japan, such as ones about canceling reservations.
In July last year, one man complained about not being able to enter his accommodation and having to sleep rough on his trip to the country from France. The man said he was not able to get the keys to the “minpaku” private lodging service he had reserved, as the owner was absent when he arrived 30 minutes late to the planned check-in time despite having emailed earlier about a delay in his flight.
In October, a man who came from New Zealand to watch the Rugby World Cup said his credit card was charged 2 million yen after his card information was stolen at a bar where a woman had taken him.
The center is distributing information about the hotline through the websites of foreign countries’ embassies in Japan, as well as through tourist information centers.
“We would like to call on public transportation services to cooperate as well” ahead of the Olympics, the center said.
Services in English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese are available on the hotline. French language services are due to be included from this April.
The telephone number for the service is 03-5449-0906.