Some 20,000 US military dependents can leave Japan

WASHINGTON, March 17 Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:21pm EDT

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WASHINGTON, March 17 (Reuters) - Around 20,000 dependents of U.S. military personnel in Japan are eligible for voluntary evacuation under plans announced on Thursday by the Pentagon, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Japan told Reuters.

Families of U.S. military personnel who choose to take part can buy tickets on commercial aircraft and get reimbursement. The military says it may also use its aircraft to fly dependents out of the country, if needed.