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government called for a complete nationwide lockdown on March 25, they were informed that their flight bookings were no longer valid.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.
It is learnt that Tokyo-Delhi@AirIndiain flight for June 1, has been approved. Operational details being finalized by @AirIndiain. Similar flights to other destinations being discussed with relevant GoI authorities & State Govts - decisions yet to be received. @MEAIndia
— India in Japan (@IndianEmbTokyo) May 16, 2020
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.
Mr. Gurucharan Acharya, who is residing in the Nagoya city in the Aichi prefecture of Japan, had his last working day on March 31 after which he even had to vacate the residence he was staying in. He had to shift to a temporary set-up and has been staying there for over 1.5 months now without any job.
Acharya said, “My flight to Bangalore was cancelled twice and I am running out of my savings now. Our only hope is the evacuation flight from Tokyo.”
But the Indian embassy in Tokyo hasn’t received any information about any flights to the South Indian states till now. The situation has caused panic among these stranded people. They have resorted to different WhatsApp and Facebook groups to share their concern with those facing a similar plight.
After several attempts of connecting with the Indian embassy here in Tokyo, they refused to comment on the scenario.
Over 900 Indians here still do not know who to ask for help and how they will overcome this situation or get back to their loved ones back in India.
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