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Foreign tourists in Hokkaido struggle to find info after quake

Foreign tourists gather in an emergency kitchen operated by a restaurant in the Susukino district in Sapporo's Chuo Ward on Sept. 6, 2018. (Mainichi)

SAPPORO -- Foreign tourists in Hokkaido were left struggling to find information in their own language after a powerful earthquake and a blackout hit the northernmost prefecture on Sept. 6.

Kim Ri-ha, 27, who was visiting from South Korea with her family, tried to gather information on the morning of Sept. 7 from a noticeboard in front of the ticket gates at JR Sapporo Station after train services were left suspended. She was scheduled to go back to South Korea on Sept. 6 but the earthquake struck in the early hours of that day, leading to the airport shutting down. Kim was forced to sleep on the floor of the station that night before moving to an evacuation center after receiving guidance from station staff.

"This is the first time I've experienced such an earthquake even though I have visited Japan more than 10 times. I'm grateful that I could stay at the evacuation center. I can't find what's going on because it's hard for foreigners to get information in foreign languages," she said.

Nabihah Elias, 58, visiting from Singapore with her friends, was stranded at Sapporo Station due to the suspension of train and airplane services after she checked out of her hotel. She couldn't find out when transport services would resume and whom she should ask for guidance. Elias wanted to go to Tokyo but had no idea how she could get there.

(Japanese original by Nozomi Genma, Hokkaido News Department)

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