Ottawa is warning Canadians to stay at least 80 kilometres from Japan’s Fukoshima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant — an advisory that comes as many countries and organizations evacuate their citizens from at-risk areas.
Ottawa has already warned against non-essential travel to Japan, but updated the advisory late Wednesday to include the 80-kilometre radius warning for those who are in the country.
The Foreign Affairs Department has also said Canadians in Tokyo and other affected areas should consider leaving.
The U.S. has already warned that the evacuation zone around the plant should be extended to 80 kilometres, with a top nuclear official warning that meltdown is not far away.
Japan has evacuated all residents who live within a 20-kilometre radius of the crippled plant, and has told those between 20 and 30 kilometres to either leave or stay sealed indoors.
Many have also left Tokyo, a metropolitan area with a population of 35 million which is 270 kilometres away from the power plant.
Airports around Tokyo were jammed Thursday with travellers attempting to leave the region.
Many are moving to the south or southwest, including Osaka, where many foreign journalists and some foreign embassies have temporarily located.
Michael Wade Donnelly, the founder of the University of Toronto‘s Asian Institute, said the Japanese government is “notoriously prudent, cautious, careful and slow moving,” and has not yet advised anyone to leave Tokyo.
“They’re contacting friends and family, they’re looking desperately for shelter but my impression watching the television day in and day out is a lot of this is families and individuals doing this on their own.”
Ottawa’s advice to Canadians echoes the message sent by Australia, the U.K. and Germany, which have all advised their citizens to leave Tokyo.