Australians told to leave Tokyo as nuclear crisis continues

13:46, March 17, 2011      

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Australians have been told to leave Japan's capital as nuclear crisis continues after a massive earthquake and subsequent devastating tsunami hit the country on Friday, local media reported on Thursday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd advised Australians in Tokyo or other affected areas to leave, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.

"When it comes to the state of the electricity supply industry, the state of water supply, the impact on road transport, the interruptions to train transport, schools being closed and of course the continued manifestation of aftershocks, that if unless it's essential you be there, then we are saying you should consider going, departing," Rudd said.

"That applies to Australians working in the broad business community, the social sector, the education sector, as well as to our embassy staff to whom we are providing the same opportunity, because the embassy, by definition, is in Tokyo."

It was reported that the U.S., French and British governments had provided similar advice to its nationals in the affected areas.

Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith said the Australian government strongly advised Australians not to travel to the affected areas around the nuclear plant.

So far efforts to bring temperatures down in four reactors at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant have failed, according to the ABC.

High levels of radiation have been measured at the plant and low levels have been detected wafting over Tokyo, 250 kilometers to the south.

The situation is described by the International Atomic Energy Agency as "very serious".

More than 200,000 people have been evacuated from a 20- kilometer exclusion zone, while people living within 10 kilometers of that zone have been warned to stay indoors.

Source: Xinhua

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