We are grateful for the warm support and thoughts from many people after the historic earthquake in Japan on March 11.
1. General Situation
Thanks to international relief supports and Japan’s resilience and hard-working effort enables the country to recover the infrastructure as well as commercial activities at a surprisingly fast pace. The majority of regions in Japan including popular leisure travel destinations, are outside the areas affected by tsunami, earthquake and radiation, and received no disruption to infrastructure. Everything in these areas continues to operate as usual. "No Entry Zone" is limited to the area within 20km (12.4 mile)-radius from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. For the information regarding restriction areas around Fukushim Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, please see here.
Products distributed to the public including foods and water are all safe. Japanese authorities have instituted monitoring of food products and have restricted the consumption and distribution of some products in certain prefectures, or areas found to contain radionuclides exceeding Japan's provisional regulation value. Findings from food monitoring in Japan and decisions related to the consumption and distribution of food products are published regularly on the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare web site.
Japan's sophisticated public transportation systems offer the regular service levels as before.
You can view Today's Japan through live cameras and You Tube videos.
2. The Current Radiation Level in Japan
Except for the proximate areas near the nuclear power plants, there is no dangerous level of radiation detected in Japan. Tokyo is NOT within radiation contamination concern area, located over 200km (124 miles) away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant facilities. The radiation level in Tokyo is similar to that of New York City. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and other international organizations confirm that the radiation level in the atmosphere is within a reasonable safety level to human health.
In addition, please see the weekly updates on radiation level in major cities in Japan here.
You can confirm the international comparison of radiation level here.
3. Road to Recovery
Prime Minister's Office released "Road to Recovery" in October 2011 which explains comprehensive information regarding countermeasures for the Great East Japan Earthquake.
On December 16, 2011, the Japanese government announced that the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station had achieved a 'cold shutdown condition' and were in a stable state, and that the release of radioactive materials was under control. Cold shutdown conditions are reached when three conditions have been established: the reactor pressure vessel's temperature is less than 100 degrees Celsius, the release of radioactive materials from the primary containment vessel is under control and public radiation exposure by additional release is being significantly held down.
In response to this, IAEA issued the statement which welcomes the announcement by the Japanese Government. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko said that the fuel in the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has cooled enough to prevent any further releases of radiation beyond the station.
4. Daily Updates
Since the 3.11 earthquake, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) continues to release updates on its website, including radiation conditions, transportation, events and other travel-related information.
For visitors currently traveling in Japan, the Tokyo Headquarters of Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) provides information service at the Tourist Information Center (TIC):
TIC in Tokyo
1st Fl, Shin-Tokyo Building, 3-3-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0005
Service in English, Chinese and Korean
Open Daily (except Jan. 1) from 9am to 5pm
5. The Travel Alert by the U.S. Department of State
Until April 13, 2012, the U.S. Department of State had been updating the travel alert to Japan. The latest travel alert dated October 7 stated that based on current data from Japan, it is recommend that U.S. citizens avoid all areas within 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant and the U.S. government recommended U.S. citizens contemplating travel to areas within 80 km (50 miles) of Fukushima Daiichi Plant consult with Japanese authorities regarding local conditions at the proposed destination.
The U.S. Department of State removed the travel alert to Japan on April 13. The basic information about Japan can be found in the page of "Japan Country Specific Information". Regarding the travel to Japan, the Department of State states as follows: "Tourist facilities are widely available, except in coastal areas of Northeast Japan still recovering from the aftermath of the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami."
Followings are the past travel alerts to Japan.
7 October, 2011 - U.S. Department of State has amended the areas they recommend to avoid to 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. In addition, the travel alert states that U.S. citizens should avoid the area northwest of the plant that the Government of Japan has designated as the “Deliberate Evacuation Area.” and that U.S. citizens should also avoid all “Specific Spots Recommended for Evacuation” by the Government of Japan.
9 June, 2011 - U.S. Department of State added that the Tohoku Expressway and the Tohoku Shinkansen Railway through the 50-mile evacuation area are currently open to public.
16 May, 2011 - U.S. Department of State updated its recommendation on the safe use of the Tohoku Expressway and the Tohoku Shinkansen Railway through the 50-mile evacuation area. The U.S. Government believes it is safe for U.S. citizens to use the railway and expressway for transit through the area.
14 April, 2011 - U.S. Department of State has reduced the travel alert to Japan only to the 50 miles radius of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which excludes major cities such as Tokyo and Yokohama, and Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports.
6. Useful Links
(Statements from international authorities)
(Tourist Information Centers (TIC) in Japan)
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