Japanese firms hit by Bangkok unrest

BANGKOK--Weeks of unrest in the Thai capital have taken their toll on Japanese companies operating here, a survey by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce here found.

Thirty-two of the chamber's 33 board member firms said their business has suffered since confrontations began three weeks ago between army soldiers and supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Of the 32 firms, 29 are located in and around the city's commercial area where pro-Thaksin demonstrators have occupied the neighborhood.

Asked about the negative influence on their business, 25 companies said they have closed offices, reduced work hours or prohibited overtime work.

Six companies said they relocated part of their office functions outside the troubled area, while three others are considering such measures.

Ten companies have in principle banned business trips from Japan to Thailand, while 19 said such travel is deliberated on a case-by-case basis.

Eighteen companies have relocated their Japanese employees' residences out of security concerns for family members.

Two said they are preparing to temporarily send some employees back to Japan.

The JCC queried the 33 members on April 26 when its board meeting was held.

Twelve companies said the situation has already affected their business results.