Update on Situation in Japan18 March 2011
The Department of Foreign Affairs has operated a comprehensive crisis response system to meet the needs of Irish citizens in Japan since the earthquake on 11 March. This response has been coordinated by our Crisis Centre in Dublin and led on the ground by our Embassy in Tokyo.
Our travel advice is reviewed by the Crisis Centre and the Irish Embassy in Tokyo several times per day and daily consultations continue to take place with all EU Member States.
All Irish citizens in the affected areas have been safely accounted for and our Ambassador to Japan travelled to the Sendai area to locate Irish citizens and assist them in departing the area.
The current travel advice to Irish citizens is to avoid non-essential travel to Japan, including Tokyo, and to avoid all travel to the affected areas in the north eastern part of the main Honshu island of Japan. Given the present situation at Fukushima nuclear power plant, including the disruption to the supply of essential goods and services, we continue to encourage Irish citizens to consider leaving the north east of Japan and the Tokyo region.
A number of citizens have opted to remain in the Tokyo region. Our Embassy in Tokyo continues to operate in support of those citizens who remain in Japan.
Those citizens who choose to depart the designated areas are advised to do so by commercial air transport or, if they intend to remain elsewhere in Japan, by local train and bus services. A wide range of commercial flights continue to operate to and from Tokyo, and other locations, with significant availability. Our Embassy is assisting Irish citizens in obtaining reservations and a comprehensive list of travel providers is available on the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
A small number of EU Member States have arranged assisted departure options for their citizens on chartered flights. We understand that seats on these flights, other than in exceptional personal circumstances, are being charged at commercial rates.
Neither the Embassy, nor the Consular Crisis Centre in Dublin has been informed of any citizen who wishes to leave the designated areas being unable to do so. Should anybody be in that position or know of anyone in that position, they should immediately contact the Embassy or the Department’s Consular Crisis Centre who, through our cooperation with EU partners, are in a position to assist in securing departure on commercial flights out of Tokyo.
As the Department has received no indication that any Irish citizen has been unable to secure a commercial flight or train reservation out of affected areas, it has not been necessary to provide our own national charter options at this stage.
We will continue to monitor the situation very closely and to make all necessary contingency plans in cooperation with our EU partners.