U.S. government allowing families to return to Japan
Military families arrive at Travis Air Force Base in California after leaving Japan last month.
April 15th, 2011
09:27 AM ET

U.S. government allowing families to return to Japan

The U.S. State Department is lifting the voluntary departure order issued for dependents of U.S. government employees in Japan, allowing families to return to the country.

The departures were authorized after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility and led to releases of radiation from damaged nuclear reactors.

In a travel alert posted on its website, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said that while the situation at the Fukushima nuclear facility "remains serious and dynamic," the radiation dangers outside a 50-mile radius evacuation zone are low and "do not pose significant risks to U.S. citizens."

"Based on the much reduced rate of heat generation in the reactor fuel after one month of cooling and the corresponding decay of short-lived radioactive isotopes, even in the event of an unexpected disruption at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, harmful exposures to people beyond the 50-mile evacuation zone are highly unlikely," the embassy statement said.

Travel inside the evacuation zone is still not recommended. Major U.S. government and military facilities are outside the 50-mile zone.

The families of military personnel who left Japan for "safe havens" in the U.S. are awaiting Pentagon orders authorizing their return, Stars and Stripes reported.

“Family members will soon receive instructions on how to obtain return flights and proceed from their selected locations,” Stripes quotes a statement from U.S. Forces Japan as saying.

The U.S. Embassy statement said the American government is using the same safety standard in allowing the return of dependents as it would if such an event occurred in the United States.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Earthquake • Japan • Military
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Susan

    so much for lever 7

    April 15, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  2. Susan

    so much for level 7

    April 15, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. Common Sense

    The whole thing does'nt make sense!

    April 15, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Sheeple Herder

      You would have to be insane to want to go back... "Common Sense" is right, this does not make a bit of sense and we have been lied to since day one of this event. This is probably not a good time to listen to them tell us it's safe when it was just escalated higher than when they were evacuated.

      April 15, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Cheesekun

      Or... instead of applying your critical thinking skills to the BASIC science classes you took in college, you relied on what the sensationalist media told you to believe, and now you are confused. It's been over a month since the reactor was shut down. Was everyone in this country a liberal arts major in college?

      April 15, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. DemFL

    Stay, don't go back. No information that proceeded the problems at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility has been true and thus the LEVEL 7 designation now. I sure wouldn't go back there anytime soon just worrying about which way the wind will blow. We don't know for sure the extent of the "meltdown" they refuse to acknowledge happened and maybe even to 2 of the reactors.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. Gerbil

    This is madness!

    Anyone who really wants to know what is going on with the nuclear disaster needs to monitor these two websites and NOT the mainstream media or the US government.


    April 15, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bob

    That paid vacation that was costing the tax payers $20,000++ to keep the dependants in Hawaii is over!!

    April 15, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Gerbil

      A life is priceless. That you can begrudge the safety of others for something as worthless as the US dollar makes me feel extremely sorry for you.

      April 15, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • src

      I agree with you Bob. A lot of the dependents left because it was a paid vacation on the tax payers dime!!!!

      April 16, 2011 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  7. conlib

    I'd be thinking twice about this – this is the obama US government saying this.

    April 15, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. Don

    Go screw yourself. At least your not contaminated like these dependents are. Can you buy back their health?

    April 15, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Alone in the Corner

    Why dose the U.S. think its safe they Could get seriously Hurt

    April 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Al from CA

    As sure as death and taxes, the earth will continue to move! FOREVER! That's FOREVER people! Even if they bury Fukushima in concrete the rods will stay hot. What happens in 10 years, or 100, or 1,000 when the next 9.0 hits? Concrete is not going to save ANYBODY! Burying nuclear waste in NV is scary because those idiots in charge think they can control everything. What about Wyoming? It's a super volcano! What do you think will happen to that little hole in the NV desert when half the state of Wyoming goes KA-BOOM? DUH-LOSING!!! It makes me sick to see and hear politicians and big business from all over the world polluting this planet and at the same time saying they're taking care of their young people. What a crock!!! Think past your own futures and stop killing our planet!

    April 15, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jazzzzzzzz - something fun for everyone

    The blogging entrance test – ♫♫♫ getting to know you... getting to know all about you... getting to like you...hoping you'll like me too♫♫♫

    1. What is your favorite word?
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    April 15, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mrs.Pauls

    Is there such a thing as a disblogging entrance test?
    Anyway..It's about time,they have been living on my block since the quake.Their atrocious driving has resulted in four family pets ran over,and thousands of dollors worth of cameras stolen.

    April 16, 2011 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  13. Tol Trunks

    The US military is not to be trusted.

    April 16, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Andreas Moser

    I don't think the US government can "order" its citizens to leave a foreign country, as long as these citizens are only family members of its employees.

    April 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |