On Thursday US Ambassador to Japan urged US citizens living within a 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to evacuate the area or seek shelter indoor. Ambassador John V. Roos announcement assessing the situation surrounding the fate of the nuclear plant as “deteriorating” indicated that data review by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) had prompted this latest announcement. Subsequent to this announcement 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. The US Embassy has also constituted consular assistance teams whose task includes locating and reaching out to US citizens in need. In addition travel arrangements were being organized with evacuation flights being chartered from Haneda and Narita airports to “Safeheaven destinations in Asia”.
The French Embassy in Japan announced at 1:00 pm local time that French nationals living in Tokyo should move further south or take advantage of two government planes to return to France. The government planes were operating in addition to Air France flight 275 and 277 using high capacity Boeing 77-300ER.
The British Embassy was also encouraging its citizens to leave Japan via regular commercial flights out of the country or in extreme cases by government chartered planes flying to Hong Kong. In addition chartered bus services from Sendai to Tokyo were being planned for March 18th.
Evacuation of foreign nationals evacuating Japan taking place after reports of increased radiation levels at the Fukushima Daiichi plant , as well as growing strain on Japan critical infrastructure with damaged roads, strain to the food and commoditie
This latest wave of evacuation flights to safety outside of Japan highlights the increasingly visible strains to the country infrastructure. Already scarcity of food, commodities and currencies, along with power shortage and a constrained road networks were adding to people’s apprehension.