When I landed at the Narita International Airport after spending two very busy days in Fukuoka, the main city of Kyushu Island, it was around 8 PM and I had yet to say my Magrib prayer. So, I rushed to the Prayer Room on the 1st floor of Terminal 2 of the airport, and started the prayer. While, I was about to finish my Magrib prayer, I overheard some voices behind me. After finishing the prayer, I turned back and saw four young Arab Muslims.
After customary salutations, I asked them where they were from and whether they were coming to Japan or about to leave. They told me that were Saudi employees of a famous Saudi Oil rigging company, and, had visited Mitsubishi Co. for training purposes in Nigata for about 20 days. They complained to me bitterly that they had remained, almost hungry during all these days as they had not had a good halal food.
They further told me, that, they faced two major problems during their stay in Japan. The first was communication issue, and, the second one was the non-availability of proper Halal food in Niigata area. I was sad to know this all, but not do any thing now for them as they were leaving Japan in couple of hours.
In fact, this is a serious problem. and, thus, it must be solved if japan really wants to increase the number of Muslim visitors to the country. Up until recently, this issue has been grossly overlooked by the Japanese government as well as the private sector.
I have been discussing this issue with and suggesting various possible solutions many Japanese companies, hotels, and various banks and other stakeholders in the Halal industry. Japan Tourism Organization as well as few Japanese companies have taken up this issue, and, have started thinking seriously on how to solve this problem. But, as they say, there is still many a slip between the cup and the lip.
Let’s discuss some possible solutions to help solve this very serious issue in our next post. But, please do not forget to drop me a line to offer your take on the issue as it is a common theme for all of us who are either living in the country or plan to visit it in the near future. SO, wait no more and write to us NOW.