Are Japan aid programs really helping Japan?
By now, most of you know about the Japanese Red Cross, which is putting it’s heart and soul to help people whose homes and possessions were destroyed by the tsunami’s destructive force. It’s logical after large-scale natural disasters to summon the help of various aid organizations all over the world, most notably in this case is the Japanese Red Cross. Even though the people are grateful with your gifts and other forms of aid, there are other problems going on in the rest of the country.
Due to the mass media touting the help and rescue for the victims of the Sendai, Iwate, and Miyagi prefectures, the country’s tourism business is in a sharp decline. Many tourists view Japan as a construction site, affected by large quantities of nuclear fallout polluting the air and water. This is far from the truth.
Businesses that rely on Japanese tourism are in trouble, and are scrambling to prevent mass cancellations. From Okinawa to Hokkaido, the entire country is taking a beating when it comes to the number of foreign visitors. Nationally, we are talking about at least 50% fewer visitors as compared to the same period last year.
Some examples from the Yomiuri Shimbun survey:
- At least 80,000 tourists called off visiting Japan, canceling their hotel bookings.
- The normally tourist-packed Nakamise street leading to the Sensoji temple in Tokyo is almost deserted, with some stores now selling rice and vegetables to raise money.
- At the popular Noboribetsu hot spring in Hokkaido, which normally serves 200,000 tourists a year, over 10% canceled their reservations.
- The number of non-Japanese taking the Hato sightseeing bus service in Tokyo has dropped to an average of 5 people a day.
- Okinawa’s incredibly popular beach resort had over 10,000 cancellations in just 1 week after the Fukushima incident.
- The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route through the northern Japan alps dropped from its usual 4,000 foreign tourists to only 60.
- At the famous Tsurugajo castle in the Aizuwakamatsu area (in the Fukushima prefecture), tourist numbers fell by 70% in the first half of April as compared to last year — even though this zone is not an evacuation zone or declared potentially dangerous.
- The Matsushima Taikanso hotel, boasting a spectacular view over the Matsushima bay and islets from the Miyagi prefecture, confirmed all their reservations were canceled until autumn from it’s visitors from Taiwan and Hong Kong — even though this hotel was not affected by the Tsunami.
Many tourist-focused businesses are praying for the tourists to come and see their cities, towns, and prefectures are fine. Some prefectures have even announced on their website (in english) that their food and water is perfectly safe.
We hope these statistics from the Yomiuri shimbun make you rethink canceling any trips to the land of the rising sun. Don’t be fooled by what media tells you. The media prefers sensationalistic news as it attracts more viewers and readers, so we hope this article helps put a realistic view on how things really are in Japan.