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36 Taiwanese tourists in Japan's quake affected areas safe

36 Taiwanese tourists in Japan's quake affected areas safe

Tokyo, April 16 (CNA) A total of 36 Taiwanese tourists are in Japan's quake affected Kumamoto city and Aso city of Kumamoto Prefecture, but all of them are safe, Taiwan's representative office in Fukuoka told CNA Saturday. Among the 36 tourists, 25 are in four groups in Kumamoto city, 10 are in one group in Aso city and one is at the airport of Kumamoto, Taiwan's officials said.

Their travel schedules were interrupted after two deadly tremblors rocked the Kumamoto area in the past two days starting late Thursday. The latest one, with a magnitude of 7.3 degrees, shook Aso early Saturday morning and killed at least 15 people, injuring many others and bringing down buildings.

An earlier quake measuring a magnitude of 6.4 degrees hit Kumamoto city on Friday, leaving at least nine dead.

Rescue workers continued to try to search for survivors and victims.

The officials said that since the earthquakes have damaged the bridges and tunnels to Aso, the interrupted transportation links prevented Taiwan's representative office in Fukuoka from reaching the affected area immediately to offer assistance to the stranded Taiwanese tourists, but the office has been keeping in touch with them.

Tsai Jui-jung, a manager of Life Tour, a travel agency which organized a tour for other Taiwanese tourists to Japan, said that after the first quake hit the Kumamoto area, it took its customers away from Kumamoto city and Aso City, keeping them safe.

Meanwhile, several of the major travel agencies in Taiwan announced on Saturday that they have cancelled trips which had been scheduled to depart for Japan's Kyushu Island, where the affected prefecture is located, before April 19.

The travel agencies, including Lion Travel, Cola Tour and Hsihung Travel Service, said that their customers will be either given a refund or an option of changing their itinerary to go somewhere else.

Lion Travel said that it cancelled the tours for the sake of safety of Taiwanese tourists and its customers will be able to get a full refund if they agree with the cancellation.

Lion Travel added that tourists who are now in Kyushu on the arrangement of the travel agency will be taken to Fukuoka or Nagasaki instead.

For its part, Cola Tour said that it has also cancelled trips which will depart before April 19 to Kyushu and will give its customers a refund, but they have to pay no more than 5 percent of their tour expenses as administrative charges.

It said its tourists who are now in Kyushu will be taken to Fukuoka for the sake of safety.

Hsihung Travel meanwhile said it has cancelled trips to depart to Kyushu between April 17 and April 19. In addition, tourists who have signed up for trips to leave for Kyushu between April 20 and April 30 will be eligible to cancel their trips or change their itineraries without having to pay any administrative charges. (By Yang Ming-chu, Chen Wei-ting and Frances Huang)

Updated : 2021-04-22 10:52 GMT+08:00