Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Britons told to leave Tokyo as fears grow

Yoshikatsu Hiratsuka grieves in front of wreckage where the body of his mother is buried in Onagawa, northern Japan Thursday, March 17
A baby is checked for radiation exposure level in Nihonmatsu in Fukushima prefecture (state) Tuesday, March 15, 2011 following a third explosion at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power complex Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Black smoke rises from a burning building in Tokyo after Japan was struck by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake (AP/Kyodo News)

British citizens have been advised to consider leaving Tokyo as the crisis at Japan's stricken nuclear plant appeared to worsen.

The Foreign Office issued advice to any British nationals in — or to the north of — Tokyo to consider leaving the area because of the “evolving situation” in Fukushima and potential disruptions to the supply of goods, transport, communications and power.

Five days on, and as snow fell, the death toll from the disaster reached more than 4,000, and is likely to rise substantially with more than 8,000 people missing.

The latest FCO advice states: “We advise against all non-essential travel to Tokyo and north-eastern Japan given the damage caused by the March 11 earthquake and resulting aftershocks and tsunami.

“Regarding the situation at the Fukushima nuclear facility, the most recent advice from the UK's chief scientific adviser remains that for those outside the exclusion zone set up by the Japanese authorities there is no real human health issue that people should be concerned about.

“This advice is kept under constant review. However, due to the evolving situation at the Fukushima nuclear facility and potential disruptions to the supply of goods, transport, communications, power and other infrastructure, British nationals currently in Tokyo and to the north of Tokyo should consider leaving the area.”

The White House is recommending that US citizens stay 50 miles away from the stricken nuclear plant, not the 20-mile radius recommended by the Japanese.

The order comes after President Barack Obama met top advisers and the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. As late as Tuesday, the US had not issued its own recommendations, advising citizens instead to follow the recommendations of the Japanese.

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