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Foreign Office issues updated advice on Japan travel

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The Foreign Office yesterday issued updated guidelines in travel to Japan, advising against anything but essential journeys to Tokyo and the north east of Honshu.

As the stricken country struggles to deal with the devastating effects of the cataclysmic earthquake, the massive tsunami and the increasing danger of meltdowns at three northeastern nuclear reactors, the Japanese Meteorological Association warned of a 70 per cent or higher chance of another severe earthquake further down the coast closer to Tokyo. Residents all along the coast have been advised to stay away from low-lying areas.

The Foreign Office is also warning British nationals to keep a very safe distance between themselves and the four crippled Fukushima nuclear reactors, with the prognosis for a meltdown scenario increasing by the hour and radiation levels already detectable in the atmosphere, There is a 20 mile exclusion zone around the site, with all residents evacuated and those further away urged to stay indoors.

British Embassy staff and a number of British volunteers are attempting to get information to British citizens, but are being hampered in the affected areas by the appalling conditions following the tsunami. Embassy response teams are attending Narita and Haneda airports to assist British nationals in liaising with airlines. All international flights are operating at present, although ground and air transportation within the country varies from patchy to seriously disrupted.

The Narita Express from Tokyo to the Airport is suspended, as are many overland train services, although the Shinkansen and the Tokyo monorail are running as normal. Tokyo's Metro is operating at a reduced capacity and road transportation in the northeast is out of action due to the condition of the roads. British nationals in Japan are being asked to contact the British Embassy to either report they are safe or to request assistance.