Swiss urge citizens to leave quake-hit Japan

16th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Swiss authorities called Wednesday on citizens to leave quake-stricken northeast Japan and the capital Tokyo, amid fears of further aftershocks and a widening nuclear disaster.

"At the moment, the development in the damaged nuclear facility is unpredictable and aftershocks are possible," said Swiss president Micheline Calmy-Rey in a statement.

"The foreign ministry therefore recommends that all Swiss citizens, who are in the crisis zones in northeast Japan and greater Tokyo and Yokohama and whose presence is these areas is not essential, to leave," added Calmy-Rey, who is also foreign minister.

The ministry said that it will put on charter flights if commercial airlines are unable to cope with demand from Swiss evacuees.

In addition, it advised against all travel to northeast Japan and prefectures Nagano and Niigata, as well as non-essential travel to the rest of the country.

Authorities said they have contacted 1,592 out of 1,890 Swiss citizens known to be in Japan. They added that they have managed to reach all 105 who were in the tsunami-hit region.

© 2011 AFP

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