United States issues travel warning for Japan

WASHINGTON Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:39pm EDT

A woman searches for supplies amid piles of debris in Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan, March 13, 2011. REUTERS/Kyodo

A woman searches for supplies amid piles of debris in Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan, March 13, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Kyodo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The State Department urged American citizens on Sunday to avoid going to Japan because of the powerful earthquake that damaged the Fukushima nuclear power reactors.

In a travel warning the department said it had requested all nonessential U.S. government personnel to defer travel and urged American citizens to avoid tourism and non-essential travel to Japan.

It said that strong aftershocks were likely for weeks after the 8.9 magnitude one that struck northern Japan two days ago, and that Japan remained at risk for further tsunamis from aftershocks. People have been told to stay away from low-lying coastal areas.

Temporary water and food shortages may occur in affected areas due to power and transportation disruptions, the department said in giving updated details. Telephone services have also been disrupted in some areas.

Rolling power outages are scheduled for the Tokyo metropolitan area and in northern and central Honshu, the State Department said.

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Fukushima prefecture were advised to follow the local instructions and evacuate the area immediately because of the damaged nuclear reactors.

The department said flights have resumed at all airports closed by the earthquake, except Sendai, Sado, Iwate-Hanamaki, and Misawa Airports.

In Tokyo, most public transportation including trains and subways was operating, it said.

But many roads have been damaged in the Tokyo area and in northern Japan. In the far-northern Iwate prefecture, toll road highways are restricted to emergency vehicles only, it said.

In the Miyagi prefecture, government checkpoints have been established on damaged roadways.

(Editing by Eric Beech and Jackie Frank)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
it’s sad that the state department would feel the need to issue a warning not to go vacationing in japan at this time BUT you would generally expect people not to be “hiking” in Iran either so I guess the state department is probably justified in issuing this warning

Mar 13, 2011 2:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
traveler4444 wrote:
We actually have travel plans to Japan 10 weeks from now….going to Tokyo, Osaka, and Hakone…Does anyone think it will be logical or possible to go then?

Mar 13, 2011 5:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
me11 wrote:
Facing an economic crisis following the earthquakes, the last thing Japan needs is people like the US State Dept advising economy building tourists to avoid traveling to Japan altogether. Tokyo and other parts of Japan are safe to travel to. Japan is, was and always have a threat of earthquakes.
You don’t see the US State Dept warning tourists to the U.S. of high crimes in most major U.S. cities or that we too have areas that are vunerable to earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and floods.

Mar 13, 2011 8:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.