Japanese Tourist Panicked After Y2K

Odd but true story of Y2K fearing Japanese man showing up in Australian outback

Staff at a remote outback roadhouse in Western Australia have revealed how a Japanese tourist turned up
on their doorstep equipped with a flak jacket and gas mask, fearing the Y2K bug would trigger a nuclear explosion.

The terrified tourist had traveled to Australia, believing the world would be plunged into chaos as it entered the new millennium.            

Customs officials have revealed how they stopped the man at immigration carrying a survival kit, a blowgun and a chemical warfare outfit.           

And in the latest development in the incredible saga, outback residents tell how the man feared Armageddon had arrived, when a routine generator check on New Year's Eve caused a blackout.             

Lisa Williams, who works at the Willare Bridge roadhouse 2334km north of Perth, said the man "freaked out" when the generators cut out at about 10pm on December 31, resulting in a four-minute power

"He was running around going 'Y2K, Y2K', he was really panic-stricken," Ms Williams told the Australian Associated Press.            

She said the man's English was poor and nobody was able to make him understand what was happening. It was not until roadhouse manager Graeme McNamara telephoned a Japanese interpreter in Broome, who then spoke to the terrified tourist that he calmed down.           

He told them he believed the millennium bug would trigger a nuclear explosion and he planned to head for the outback because he thought it would be the safest place to be.

When he arrived in Australia, his flak jacket and the blowgun and darts, illegal in Australia, were confiscated by customs officials.

But the man was allowed to enter the country with the other items, which included an SAS basic remote survival book, a gas mask, dehydrated food, an army style water container, water purifying tablets and camping gear.

Roadhouse co-manager Sheree Marich said the man, dressed in army-style camouflage gear, had arrived at the roadhouse earlier that afternoon by taxi from Broome, a 165km trip for which he paid about $300.

The man left Australia, content that the world had not come to an end, after enjoying a restful holiday.

Source: AAP


DATE: 5/4/2000

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