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Japanese Government Draws the Line

Japanese Government Threat of Travel Ban if Bali's Police Don't Get Serious on Crime Brings Instant Response.

(3/25/2002) Citing several unresolved cases of sexual assault against Japanese women visiting Bali and inefficient handling of several other criminal cases involving Japanese nationals, the Japanese Government recently threatened to impose a travel ban on its citizens visiting Bali if the island's police force continued to drag its feet in handling such matters.

The sobering possibility of losing Bali's largest inbound tourist source brought an instant response from both the local private and public sector, Mr. I Gde Wiratha, Chairman of the local Chapter of the Indonesian Hotel & Restaurant Association (PHRI) issued a formal apology on behalf of his association, while Bali's Governor, Dewa Beratha called on local police to take the proper and proportionate steps necessary to handle the cases, suggesting that Bali's image had been tarnished by these events.

THREAT OF A BAN SUSPENDED - AT LEAST FOR NOW

On Thursday, March 21, Japan's Diplomatic Consul in Bali, Kauro Hata, confirmed that because of the widespread local support for his call for police action to resolve the cases, his nation's government was delaying any introduction of a travel ban pending further developments.

Meanwhile, Bali's Chairman of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA), I Gusti Bagus Yudhara, emphasized that the unfortunate experience of a few Japanese tourists is not reflective of the high level of personal security enjoyed by most of Bali's visitors.Yudhara also urged Japanese tourists to use only licensed travel agents and guides, which would allow his association to take the sternest possible action againgst any of its members found to be violating the law or professional standards of conduct.