Pentagon, State Offer to Evacuate Tokyo Residents

Evacuation offered to families of US personnel
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2011 3:24 AM CDT
Pentagon, State Offer to Fly Residents From Tokyo
Naval Aircrewman 2nd Class Chris Carringer, assigned to the Black Knights of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron left, passes a Japanese citizen a case of fresh water in northern Japan.    (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alexander Tidd)

US authorities have offered to evacuate the family members of State Department and Pentagon personnel from a large area of Japan, including Tokyo. As radiation from stricken nuclear reactors spreads, a travel alert has been issued warning American citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Japan and urging Americans already in Japan to consider leaving, AP reports. Officials are also warning Americans to stay at least 50 miles from Japan's crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility—four times the distance recommended by Japanese officials.

A State Department spokesman stressed that the evacuation is voluntary and the US Embassy in Tokyo will remain open. Nobody has been ordered to leave, but "we have made this opportunity available to them, should they choose to exercise it," he said. Officials say the US government will assist any citizens who wish to leave Japan but have been unable to do so, Politico reports. (More Japan stories.)

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