Chinese citizens return home from quake-hit Japan

08:32, March 17, 2011      

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Some Chinese citizens flew back to the country on Wednesday from Japan, where over 4,000 people are confirmed dead following last week's catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.

Since Tuesday, the Chinese government had begun transporting citizens in four of the worst-hit Japanese prefectures, including Miyagi, Fukushima, Iwate and Ibaraki to airports in less-affected areas of Niigata and Tokyo where Chinese citizens were flown home in batches.

Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines and Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines put on additional flights to Japan to transport the evacuated Chinese citizens.

On Wednesday night, more than 1,900 Chinese citizens on 11 regular flights, and another additional flight, arrived at the Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport in the northeastern Chinese port city of Dalian from Japan, according to the border inspection staff of the airport.

The additional flight, which was sent by China Southern Airlines, brought 178 Chinese people home from Narita Airport in Tokyo.

"My classmates and I stayed in a shelter for three days before getting on the bus sent by the Chinese embassy on Tuesday. We arrived at Narita Airport last night," said Ye Ningrong, a passenger who studied in a language school in Ibaraki.

"After the situation gets better, we'll go back to finish our studies," Ye said.

From March 11 to 16, more than 4,000 Chinese citizens in Japan returned to China via Dalian City.

In Qingdao City in the eastern province of Shandong, at least hundreds of Chinese citizens have flown back to their hometowns.

"After the horrible quake, the only thought in my mind was to go home," Zhou Xiujia, a woman in Shandong, told Xinhua after she arrived at the Qingdao Liuting International Airport.

Zhou, who studied and took a part-time job in Niigata, said that she wanted to extend her sincere gratitude to her Japanese friends.

"I was scheduled to depart today from Narita Airport, which had been closed after the disaster. My Japanese colleagues made more than 300 calls to consult the airport staff," Zhou said, adding that each of them sent her a cell phone message to wish her a smooth journey before she boarded.

Quarantine inspectors in Qingdao airport stepped up radioactive tests on passengers, luggage and cargos arriving from Japan.

Tanaka Emi, a Japanese flight attendant with China Eastern Airlines, continued performing her duties, although her family lived in badly-damaged Fukushima.

"I believe, with the whole world's supports, my country and I will get through this hardship," she said.

China Eastern Airlines, which operates 50 flights between China and Japan daily, has 48 Japanese flight attendants. Their family members are all safe and sound.

Source: Xinhua
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