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Japan disaster: U.S. starts to evacuate Americans using charter flights

March 17, 2011|By Jane Engle | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
  • Reiko Miura, 68, cries as she looks for her sister's son amid the destruction in Otsuchi Japan.
Reiko Miura, 68, cries as she looks for her sister's son amid the destruction… (Itsuo Inouye / Associated…)

The U.S. government is arranging charter flights to evacuate Americans from Japan, according to a message issued Thursday by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. The action came after the State Department upgraded its advisory on Japan's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis from an alert to a warning that said Americans in Japan "should consider departing."

The Tokyo embassy message said, in part:

"The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo informs U.S. citizens in Japan who wish to depart that the Department of State is making arrangements to provide transportation to safehaven locations in Asia. This assistance will be provided on a reimbursable basis, as required by U.S. law. U.S. citizens who travel on US government-arranged transport will be expected to make their own onward travel plans from the safehaven location. Flights to evacuation points will begin departing Japan on Thursday, March 17."

The message said that seats were limited on the flights, which depart from Tokyo's Narita and Haneda airports, and that "priority will be given to persons with medical emergencies or severe medical conditions."

People interested in boarding the charters should go to the airports or contact the State Department and the U.S. Embassy by sending an e-mail to JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov or by calling (202) 501-4444, the message said.

For details, see the embassy message and FAQs and the State Department's Web page on the crisis.

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