US charters planes to help its citizens leave Japan
State Department authorizes voluntary evacuations; meanwhile, Japanese official says ‘there is absolutely no reason to leave Tokyo’
NBC, msnbc.com and news services
Airlines scrambled to fly thousands of passengers out of Tokyo on Thursday as fears about Japan’s nuclear crisis mounted and the United States joined other nations urging their citizens to consider leaving.
The U.S. authorized the first evacuations of Americans out of Japan and warned U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to any part of the country as unpredictable weather and wind conditions risked spreading radioactive contamination.
The State Department said the government had chartered aircraft to help Americans leave Japan and had authorized the voluntary departure of family members of diplomatic staff in Tokyo, Nagoya and Yokohama – about 600 people.
The earthquake and the tsunami and the nuclear event have finally shut me up. I haven’t been able to write. I don’t have anything clear or witty or insightful or clever or new to say about these events. I am avoiding the talking heads on TV, and I’m reading as little as possible about the event on the Internet, and I’ve been absent from this blog. Why? Because I have no confidence at all that what I’d hear or read would be the truth. And I have the dreadful thought that the situation in Japan is far, far worse than what we are being told. I have no proof for the last sentence other than the plethora of contradictions I find in the news stories. And a tight feeling in my heart and chest and stomach that warns of impending, large scale disaster. I hope I’m wrong about this, but alas, I don’t think I am.