News / Asia

Japan on Edge About Nuclear Accident

People stand in line at a bus terminal in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture on March 16, 2011.
People stand in line at a bus terminal in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture on March 16, 2011.

The Japanese government continues to assure citizens that a worsening nuclear crisis poses no radiation threat to those outside an already established evacuation zone.  However, not everyone is buying it.  A small but worried slice of the population is on the move. 

Japan woke up Wednesday morning to more bad news: rising radiation levels at a crippled nuclear power plant and white smoke billowing from one of its reactor buildings.

For some people it was too much.

At Tokyo railway station, a small-but-steady stream of people were heading to bullet trains to travel west, away from the capital and the nuclear plant.

Satoshi Makishima was on his way to Osaka, Japan's second biggest city, with his girlfriend and her cat.

He says he is nervous about the nuclear problems and thinks the government and power company is only providing about 80 percent of the full picture.

Foreign residents have also been leaving the country. Nick Stantzos was taking a train to the airport, on his was home to Greece.

"The situation, as I see it, is not really improving and, although I don't think it's really going to be a big problem in the end, my family back home is really worried and also myself.  The last few days have been really stressful," he said.

Embassies keeping close eye

Foreign embassies in Tokyo are closely monitoring the situation.  Both the United States and Britain say their own specialists agree with the steps being taken by the Japanese authorities.  They are urging citizens to follow local instructions.   However, many people who call Japan home are worried.

U.S. Consul General Paul Fitzgerald says his embassy has been fielding a large number of calls from American  citizens in Japan and their families overseas.

"People are calling with concerns.  But I would call it just a concern at this point.  We've seen nothing beyond that," Fitzgerald said.

Evacuations

The situation has been assessed differently by other countries.  France is sending aircraft to evacuate its citizens and Australians have been advised to leave the Tokyo metropolitan area unless they absolutely need to stay. Australia says its advice is based on continuing aftershocks and disruptions to infrastructure and is not based on the nuclear accident.

Most of Tokyo's 13 million population is staying put.  On Wednesday, the government urged them not to hoard food and gasoline, saying supplies are sufficient.

In supermarkets, many store shelves are empty of fresh produce, either because deliveries have been disrupted or because shoppers snap it up when it arrives.  There are also queues to buy gasoline.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid