Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Filipino workers’ group calls Embassy Officials in Japan ‘Inutile’

An overseas Filipino workers’ group in Japan warned President Benigno S. Aquino III that they would hold him responsible should something bad would happen to a Filipino, working and residing in the country in the wake of the earthquake that hit the country, resulting to a probable nuclear meltdown. “We have similar demands from both Philippine and Japanese governments to help our fellow Filipinos. But much is expected from the Philippine government who is benefiting so much from OFW remittances,” Butch Pongos of Migrante Japan said. Fukushima, Pongos said, is one of the places in Japan where Filipino population is highly concentrated. There are 2,366 Filipinos in Fukushima, the Department of Foreign Affairs reported. Migrante Japan said the government and Philippine embassy officials “remain wishy-washy” in laying down its immediate evacuation plan for its citizens living within the 20 kilometer radius from the Fukushima nuclear reactor. The OFW group said it seemed that the government is “leaving the fate of its citizens in the hands of Japanese authorities” as the latter promised to help all individuals including foreign residents. “The purpose of the embassy is to protect its nationals until they are naturalized. We would not stop holding the government accountable for the welfare of Filipinos in Japan,” Pongos said. The DFA said there are 305,972 Filipinos in Japan, where about 224,558 are living in its central and northern region. Migrante Japan, for its part, estimates about 10,000 to 20,000 Filipinos in Northern Japan, mostly marriage migrants, entertainers, trainees and factory workers.



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