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Multilingual information hotlines launched in Japan amid coronavirus worries

22:30 | 24/02/2020

Japan’s authorities in some prefectures where people are confirmed to be infected with the new coronavirus are providing multilingual information services for foreigners visiting or living in Japan, NHK reported.

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Source: NHK

Okinawa Prefecture has set up a round-the-clock hotline serviced by medical professionals who provide information on medical institutions that can handle foreign languages. The service is available in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese and Thai. The phone number is 0570-050-235.

Fukuoka Prefecture has a hotline, which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The Multilingual Medical Information Service Call Center provides the service in 17 languages: English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Nepali, Tagalog, Indonesian, Portuguese, German, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian, Malay, Burmese, and Khmer.

The phone number is 092-286-9595.

A hotline is also available for foreigners visiting Yamaguchi Prefecture and those in the Kyushu region. The service is provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The service is available in 17 languages: English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Nepali, Tagalog, Indonesian, Portuguese, German, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian, Malay, Burmese, and Khmer.

The phone number is 092-687-6639.

Osaka Prefecture is offering telephone services in 10 languages including English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Thai, Indonesian and Nepalese. The Osaka Foundation of International Exchange is providing a hotline on weekdays and on the second and fourth Sundays. The phone number is 06-6941-2297.

The Osaka International House Foundation is also offering telephone services in English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Tagalog. The phone number is 06-6773-6533.

And the Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau has a hotline exclusively in Chinese. The phone numbers are 080-1460-7627 and 080-1463-3489.

Kyoto Prefecture is offering the telephone support services in English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Portuguese and Spanish. The service is provided by the Kyoto Prefectural International Center every day, except for the second and fourth Tuesdays and holidays. The phone number is 075-343-9666.

Wakayama Prefecture is providing information in English, Chinese and Tagalog through the Wakayama International Exchange Center. Tagalog is available from 10 am to 4 pm on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. English and Chinese are available from 10 am to 5 pm every day except Wednesday. The phone number is 073-435-5240.

multilingual information hotlines launched in japan amid coronavirus worries
Sanitizing wipes with QR codes for accessing a multilingual call center printed on its package is seen at the Aichi Prefectural Government Office in Nagoya on Feb. 21, 2020. (Mainichi/Toru Kuroo)

Aichi Prefecture is offering support through its Multilingual Call Center. The call center can be accessed using a smartphone, by first visiting the prefecture's official tourism site Aichi Now, where there is a link to the call center page. A call can be made by pressing the button on the page.

The service is available in 9 languages: English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish and the center will respond to calls 24 hours a day in some of them. Because the center provides information on medical institutions and other facilities, it can respond quickly if a foreign tourist in Aichi Prefecture develops symptoms of pneumonia triggered by the virus.

Thai service is available from 9 am to 6 pm. Calls in Vietnamese, Tagalog, and French can be made from 10 am to 7 pm.

Moreover, the Aichi Prefectural Tourism Association began distributing sanitary wipes to foreign tourists who visit information centers at the Centrair International Airport in central Japan amid coronavirus concerns.

QR codes are printed on the package of the wipes so that visitors can scan them with their devices and access the prefectural government's Multilingual Call Center to ask questions. The measure was adopted in response to the spread of the new coronavirus.

A total of 10,000 packs, each with 10 wipes, is being distributed at the Central Japan Travel Center and the Meitetsu Tourist Information Center at the airport in the Aichi Prefecture city of Tokoname.

Mie Prefecture is offering telephone information in 10 languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Nepalese, Indonesian and Thai.

The service is provided by the Mie Consultation Center for Foreign Residents on weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm. The phone number is 080-3300-8077.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is offering a hotline for speakers of English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Thai and can refer people to relevant public health centers as necessary. The service is provided by the Tokyo Metropolitan Health and Medical Information Center "Himawari" from 9 am to 8 pm every day including weekends and holidays. The phone number is 03-5285-8181.

In Saitama Prefecture, the Saitama Information & Support is offering telephone support services in 10 languages: English, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Nepalese.

The service is available on weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm. The phone number is 048-833-3296.

Hokkaido Prefecture is also providing an information hotline in English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Thai, Russian, Nepalese, Indonesian and Burmese. The service is provided by the Hokkaido Foreign Resident Support Center. The phone number is 011-200-9595. The service is available on weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm./.

VNF/NHK/Mainichi