Friday, April 15, 2011
Travel Safety Updates: Japan is Open for Safe Travel
The first month after the most major earthquake in the northeastern Japan has been an important recovery time for Japan, despite that international media release floods of extensive coverage on post-catastrophe 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. Following the British and Canadian governments’ ease on travel restrictions to Japan, on April 14, the US Department of State has reduced the travel alert to Japan only within 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. You can view Today’s Japan through live cameras and YouTube videos. As international organizations release clearer figures and assessment, the current situation has reached a reasonable safety level for international travelers, with detailed data as of April 15.
Can We Visit Japan Today? – YES!
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. The greater Tokyo area has already retrieved the usual condition, and there are no more periodical blackouts. The other regions are unharmed, and safe and normal as before.
How is the Radiation Level? – NOT DANGEROUS!
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. The accident in Fukushima is now categorized as level 7 with the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). However, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) estimates the amount of radiation released to the atmosphere is as a mere 10% of the Chernobyl accident. Since the INES category doesn’t have anything higher than level 7, both incidents fall into the same category in spite of the huge difference in the radiation levels and the size and structure of the accidents. See more details here. In addition, please see the daily updates on radiation level in major cities in Japan here.
Are Food and Water Safe? – YES!
There is no shortage of food or water, and products distributed to the public are all safe.
Is Public Transportation Working? – YES! J
apan’s sophisticated public transportation systems have been recovered to the regular service levels everywhere, except for the tsunami-affected regions.
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. Daily updates are also available online at JNTO’s North American website.