When it comes to traveling to Japan, some advisory organizations are giving a tepid ‘all clear’, while others are warning people away.
The World Health Organization (WHO), in a statement issued yesterday, advised that there are no general restrictions on travel to Japan. They do, however, mention that travelers should avoid the hardest hit areas because essential services, such as transportation and electricity, are disrupted… and they say there may be power, fuel, food and water shortages.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), partially basing it’s opinion on WHO’s statement, is also saying that flights and maritime operations can continue as normal, except to places where airports are damaged. They say that United Nation organizations are monitoring the situation and will advise if conditions change. They add that while some international airports have experienced increased radiation levels from Japanese travelers, “these do not represent any health risk.”
The tone of the U.S. Department of State is different. In an announcement dated yesterday, they are advising U.S citizens that are within 50 miles of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant to evacuate, or to take shelter indoors if evacuation is not practical.
The State Department is also handing out Potassium Iodide (KI), as a precaution, to Government personnel and dependents in parts of Nagoya, Tokyo, Yokohama, and the prefectures of Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Iwate, Miyagi, Nagano, Niigata, Saitama, Shizouka, Tochigi, Yamagata, and Yamanashi. They have asked these people not to take the Potassium Iodide unless they are notified to do so.
The State Department also warns of the possibility of continuing aftershocks and tsunamis related to those aftershocks, provides instructions on what to do in an earthquake, and advises to seek higher ground during a tsunami.