News / Asia

Many Residents from Japan Flee to US

Residents of Japan, such as  Lyle Carr (left) and Lidnsay Sakamoto (right), have traveled to the U.S. because of concerns over the nuclear crisis in Japan.
Residents of Japan, such as Lyle Carr (left) and Lidnsay Sakamoto (right), have traveled to the U.S. because of concerns over the nuclear crisis in Japan.

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Elizabeth Lee

The nuclear crisis in Japan are causing many Japanese and Americans living there to seek a safe haven with their family and friends in the U.S. Some of them say they are not returning to their homeland until it is safe to do so.  Elizabeth Lee spoke to some of them when they got off the plane at the airport in Los Angeles.

At one of the busiest airports in the world, it is more than the joy of seeing family for the travelers from Japan.

"I hate to say the word grateful but I'm grateful. It's with a heavy heart that I say that," said Lidnsay Sakamoto. She, her husband and their friends live near Tokyo.  They did not want to come to Los Angeles and leave their relatives behind.  But the nuclear crisis there was too close to home.

"We finally made the ultimate decision that it was time to go. And it's very heart breaking because all our spouses are Japanese and they don't want to necessarily leave their families and leave their country but to be safe and to protect us they all came," she said.

With a two year old son, Kai Odagiri also decided to seek safety in the U.S. with her sister. "Things getting worst that's why we have to leave - for him," she said.

Even though there is a sense of relief for many of these travelers when they finally land in the U.S. the terror of the earthquake still haunts them.

"I was so scared. It [shook, a] very big shake," said Odagiri.

Lyle Carr has lived through earthquakes before.  But this one was different. "Earthquakes are normally enough in Japan that if you're in a coffee shop and one hits and I'm talking like this its oh we have an earthquake then you go back to talking like nothing's like it's something that happened all the time. This one didn't stop," he said.

"I jumped on my bed and tried to take cover because it was the safest area in our particular but things started falling on me so I left really fast and I went outside and stood on the ground while things rocked,"  said Sakamoto.

Many of these travelers say they are glad to have friends and family to stay with in the U.S. but they look forward to the day when they can safely go home again.

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