Archive | 8:11 AM

Is It Safe to Visit Japan?

20 Jul

Is it safe to visit Japan? Is it safe to take young children there?”… These are questions that I have been asking myself ever since the Earthquake. It has been nearly 7 years since my last visit to Japan and I am craving it… the people, the food, the atmosphere, the language, the cool products… and now that I am trying to raise bilingual children, I desperately want to expose them to the Japanese culture first-hand.

I’ve talked to a lot of people (mostly Japanese people) about current safety and they seem to fall into one of these two categories:

1) It is absolutely safe to visit Japan. The aftershocks are subsiding and the radiation levels are too small to worry about. The people in Japan are going about business as usual. We can’t let fear keep the country from moving forward. We need to support their economy by visiting. The naysayers are just trying to freak you out.

2) It’s not worth the risk. Nobody knows what harmful side effects the radiation can have. The government is not telling us the whole truth. Wait at least a few more years before going.

Japan just launched a new campaign/video with a band called “Arashi” to try and show the world that Japan is a safe place to visit:

Watching this video makes me REALLY want to go to Japan. That food–DROOL! You can watch more videos urging foreigners to visit Japan HERE.

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If you are also contemplating visiting Japan, these websites are informative:

JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization)‘s travel advisory website is frequently updated and currently says:

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.

Another article by Japan National Tourism Organization states:

Japan has once again shown the world how hard-working and determined it is with a super speedy recovery following the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March. Popular holiday destinations such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Mt. Fuji, Nagasaki, Hokkaido and Okinawa are safe and well and waiting to welcome you.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of Britain has a Travel Advice Page for Japan that currently says:

  • We advise against all but essential travel to those areas in north-east Japan most affected by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. This includes those coastal areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures which suffered extensive damage. These areas continue to experience disruptions to residential, business and transport infrastructure. There is also a continuing risk of aftershocks. If your travel is essential, you should consult local contacts before travelling.
  • We advise against all travel to within a 60km radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility with the exception of transit through the area via the Tohoku Expressway and the Tohoku Shinkansen Railway. The Tokyo Metropolitan area and Narita airport lie outside this zone.
  • The situation in Japan outside of these specific areas has largely returned to normal and most visits are trouble free. 184,045 British nationals visited Japan in 2010. See General – Consular Assistance Statistics.
  • There may however still be some further disruptions to transport, power, communications and water and food supplies. For up to date transport news, please refer to JR East’s English site. For information about possible power cuts during the summer months, please check the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) website.
  • There is a continuous risk of earthquakes and tsunamis throughout Japan.  Latest warnings and advisories are published on the Japan Meteorological Agency website.

What do you think? What have you been told and what do you believe?  If you live in Japan, what are your thoughts?

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