Travel Warning Issued for Japan

March 17, 2011, 9:16 AM HST · Updated March 17, 9:16 AM
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By Wendy Osher

Osaka Red Cross hospital. dERU (domestic Emergency Response Unit) getting ready and being deployed to respond to the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the Japan on the 12th of March 2011. Photo: Japanese Red Cross

The U.S. Department of State has upgraded its travel alert to a warning for US visitors to Japan.  This comes upon a deteriorating situation at the Fukushima Dai0ichi Nuclear Power plant.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has also issued a recommendation for U.S. citizens who live within 50 miles of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant to evacuate or take shelter indoors; and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo today is organizing flights out of Narita and Haneda to safe haven locations further away from the nuclear impacts.

The State Department is strongly urging U.S. citizens to defer travel to Japan at this time.  For U.S. citizens in Japan, the department is advising them to consider departing.

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Officials from the U.S. State Department say numerous factors still exist in the aftermath of last week’s earthquake and tsunami, including weather, wind direction, and speed, and the nature of the reactor problem that affect the risk of radioactive contamination within the aforementioned zone.

As a result of the assessment, the State Department has authorized the voluntary departure from Japan of eligible family members of U.S. government personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, the U.S. Consulate in Nagoya, and the Foreign Service Institute Field School in Yokohama.

Commercial flights have resumed at all airports that were closed by the earthquake, except Sendai Airport, and commercial seats were still available at the time of this posting.

The Department of State is working to assist U.S. citizens to depart from affected areas. U.S. citizens in Tokyo should review the Japan Earthquake/Pacific Tsunami webpage at http://travel.state.gov for updated departure-related information.

*** Photo courtesy Red Cross Japan and IFRC.

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