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France and Others Evacuating Their Citizens from Japan

March 16, 2011

I heard this earlier today. Here is the lowdown.

AFP Reports:

European countries Tuesday stepped up the evacuation of their citizens from quake-shattered Japan, with radio reporters and an orchestra among those to be repatriated.

In Paris the French government called on the national carrier Air France to lay on extra flights to bring citizens home.

“We have suggested to our compatriots who are not obliged to stay in Tokyo to come back to France or leave for the south of Japan at once,” Prime Minister Francois Fillon told the National Assembly.

“The government has asked Air France to mobilise aircraft in Asia to respond without delay to the request of our citizens.”

Radio France said would evacuate as soon as possible almost all its staff currently Japan.

In all, five reporters and two technical staff will be brougt home while the permanent correspondent in Tokyo, a freelance, will stay, though Radio France said he would be helped if he wanted to come home. One journalist will stay, in Sapporo in the north of the country.

The Czech armed forces said they were sending two aircraft later on Tuesday to evacuate members of the celebrated Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

“At the moment we are preparing everything needed for the takeoff of two planes to bring back Czech citizens, among them members of the orchestra,” an armed forces spokeswoman said.

The countries that made up the former Yugoslavia on Tuesday called on their citizens in Japan to leave the country if possible and cautioned nationals against traveling to the quake-hit nation.

“After the deterioration of the situation in Japan caused by natural disasters and the explosion in the Fukushima nuclear plant, the Serbian foreign ministry recommends its citizens not to travel to Japan in the coming period,” the ministry said in a statement.

It also urged the around 100 Serb nationals currently in Japan to leave the country if they can or evacuate to less vulnerable zones.

In neighbouring Bosnia and Croatia the authorities also cautioned its citizens against visiting Japan and called on those already there, an estimated 40 Croats and around 100 Bosnians, to contact their respective embassies.

Macedonia has urged the some 30 Macedonian nationals believed to be in Japan at the moment to leave and cautioned against travelling there.

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