Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Travel agent cornered sale of Indonesian visa forms

A Tokyo-based travel agency that gave about 14 million yen to a Japanese man involved in a scandal over the issuance of visas by the Indonesian Embassy in Tokyo, was granted a monopoly on selling forms for proxy applications for the visas for at least three years, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The man, 50, was in charge of issuing visas at the Indonesian Embassy.

Travel agencies other than National Business Support (NBS) were unable to obtain such documents from the embassy, and had to buy them from the firm in question.

As about half of all proxy applications for Indonesian visas were made via the company during the period in question, fresh suspicions have been raised regarding the firm's relations with the embassy.

NBS, based in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, explained it had sold the forms for proxy applications for 50 yen each over a period spanning some time between 2003 and 2005.

Because the forms were not sold at the Indonesian Embassy, other travel agencies in Japan offering proxy visa application services had to buy the forms from NBS.

But the embassy provided the forms free of charge when individual tourists applied for visas on their own.

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