Japan Travel Updates after the 3.11 Earthquake

Information from International Organizations

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

[ Cold Shutdown Conditions Declared at Fukushima ] (16 December 2011)

On 16 December 2011, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano issued the following statement: The IAEA welcomes the announcement by the Government of Japan that the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station have achieved a 'cold shutdown condition' and are in a stable state, and that the release of radioactive materials is under control."
"Overall TEPCO and the Japanese Government have made significant progress and have completed the second step of the TEPCO's roadmap by the end of the year as they had planned." The IAEA is continuing to monitor the status of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and the radiological situation in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March. The IAEA receives information updates from a variety of official Japanese sources, through the national competent authorities. The Agency continues to stand ready to provide necessary assistance to Japan as requested."

Background
Cold shutdown conditions are reached when three conditions have been established: the reactor pressure vessel's temperature is less than 100 degrees Celsius, the release of radioactive materials from the primary containment vessel is under control and public radiation exposure by additional release is being significantly held down.
-- By Peter Kaiser, IAEA Division of Public Information

[ Focus: Fukushima Nuclear Accident ] 

World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

UN agencies: current situation poses no risk to travel to and from Japan. (15 April 2011)

The United Nations organizations (WHO, IAEA, UNWTO, WMO, IMO, ICAO, ILO) closely monitoring the effects of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant remain confident that radiation levels do not present health or transportation safety hazards to passengers and crew.
http://85.62.13.114/media/news/en/press_det.php?id=7701&idioma=E

World Health Organization (WHO)

Health action in crises

[Japan: public health risks beyond the 30km evacuation zone currently still low]

13 April -- On 11 April, the Japanese authorities recategorized the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant as a level 7 incident on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Public health risks beyond the 30km evacuation zone around the plant are currently still low. The latest monitoring of radiation levels in air, drinking water and soil reveal declines in all three. Local authorities review restrictions on food sales on a weekly basis. The International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) - a joint WHO/FAO initiative - provides regular updates to the 177 countries belonging to the network, one of which is Japan.
http://www.who.int/hac/crises/jpn/en/index.html

FAQs: Japan nuclear concerns

[Travel advice]

Q : What is the WHO travel advice for Japan?
A :
* At this time, WHO is not advising general restrictions on travel to Japan.
* However, travellers should avoid travel to the areas most affected by the earthquake and tsunami because of disruptions to essential services, such as transport and electric power. The ongoing disaster relief activities, including the nuclear power plant emergency response and control activities, will make travel difficult and could consume resources needed by relief workers and residents. Moreover, as indicated by the Japanese authorities, travel within the evacuation and exclusion zones surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is currently prohibited.
* In general, travellers who do not have essential reasons to travel should give careful consideration to deferring travel to any areas where there has been considerable disruption to the normal infrastructure and where authorities are responding to urgent humanitarian needs.

http://www.who.int/hac/crises/jpn/faqs/en/index3.html

[Water contamination]

Q : Can I drink the tap water in Japan?
A :
* Drinking tap water in Japan poses no immediate health risk, but local conditions will differ and may fluctuate.
* The Japanese authorities are closely monitoring the situation and are issuing advice, when needed, against consumption of tap water, including specific recommendations for infants. Essential hydration of infants should not be compromised in an attempt to reduce exposure to radionuclide contamination.
* The standards adopted by the Japanese authorities for this emergency are precautionary. Currently, radioactive iodine is the most common detected contaminant; the standard for adults is 300 Becquerels per litre in drinking-water. In the very unlikely scenario that drinking-water was contaminated and consumed for an entire year at this level, the additional radiation exposure from this water would be equivalent to natural background radiation during one year.
* WHO urges people in the area to heed the advice of local authorities, as they will have access to the latest measurements of radiation levels in water to compare against the standards for adults and children.

http://www.who.int/hac/crises/jpn/faqs/en/index8.html

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) issued the following statement titled “CURRENT SITUATION FOR TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT TO AND FROM JAPAN” on 14 April 2011.

   The United Nations organizations closely monitoring the effects of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant remain confident that current radiation levels do not present health or transportation safety hazards to passengers and crew.
   On 18 March, based on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES)*, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry assessed the significance rating of the accident at the plant as Level 5. On 12 April, this assessment was revised to Level 7 following information obtained from estimations of the amount of radioactive material discharged to the atmosphere.
   Radiation monitoring around airports and seaports in Japan continues to confirm that levels remain well within safe limits from a health perspective. In addition, monitoring of passengers, crew and cargo from Japan carried out to date in other countries, in accordance with their national policy, does not suggest any health or safety risk. Therefore, screening of radiation for health and safety purposes is currently considered unnecessary at airports and seaports around the world.

*Information concerning travel and transport to and from Japan by air or sea is not dependent on the INES rating.

   For updates, travelers visiting Japan by air are advised to consult a dedicated website established by the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau :
http://www.mlit.go.jp/koku/flyjapan_en/

   Further information covering all aspects of the response of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan, as well as information regarding the radiation dose in Tokyo Bay and at sea in the region can be found on the following websites :
http://www.mlit.go.jp/page/kanbo01_hy_001411.html
http://www.mlit.go.jp/kowan/kowan_fr1_000041.html
http://www.mlit.go.jp/en/maritime/maritime_fr1_000007.html

   The UN agencies involved in the monitoring process are the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Meteorological Organization, the International Maritime Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the World Tourism Organization and the International Labour Organization.
   Further information concerning health aspects is available on the website of the World Health Organization - http://www.who.int

Link to ICAO Press Release.

[CURRENT RADIATION LEVELS IN JAPAN AND TRAVEL ADVICE] - 1 April 2011.

[NO RESTRICTIONS ON TRAVEL TO JAPAN] - 18 March 2011.

International Air Transport Association (IATA)

Representing major airlines of the world, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) issued the following statement, fully supporting the ICAO’s message, on 19 March 2011.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the joint statement issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on behalf of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Maritime Organization (IMO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), on the continued safety of air transport operations in Japan. These five organizations confirmed that there are no restrictions to normal air transport operations at Japan’s major airports, including both Haneda and Narita.
“Safety is our number one priority. If it is not safe, we won’t fly. Today’s joint statement by the five most authoritative United Nations (UN) organizations on air transport, nuclear energy, shipping, health and weather confirms that it is safe to operate in Japan,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
The ICAO statement further confirmed that there are no health reasons that would require the screening of passengers emanating from Japan. Moreover the Organizations confirmed that there is no health risk associated with increased levels of radiation that have been detected at some airports. Although not recommended by the UN organizations, several states are implementing screening programs for passengers and flights from Japan. As these measures are not being coordinated among governments, IATA is tracking developments at www.iata.org/japan-measures.
“The combination of crises impacting Japan today is unprecedented. But global standards and best practices exist to protect the safety of all concerned. We must follow the joint advice of these authoritative global bodies to provide the best advice to the industry, its employees, travelers and shippers. The situation is evolving quickly and is being constantly monitored. Today the advice is that normal operations are possible. If the advice changes, the industry will comply and transparently keep all informed of the developments,” said Bisignani
“Effective air links are critically important at this time. Our members are rising to the challenge of bringing relief supplies, equipment and people to Japan as well as connecting families affected by this tragedy,” said Bisignani.

Link to IATA Press Release

Representing major airlines of the world, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) issued the following statement, fully supporting the ICAO’s message, on 1 April 2011.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed confirmation from six United Nations (UN) agencies monitoring Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that there is no health or transportation safety hazard. The UN statement also confirmed that screening for radiation of passengers arriving from Japan is currently considered unnecessary at airports or seaports around the world.
The joint statement was prepared by the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Meteorological Organization, the International Maritime Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the World Tourism Organization.
According to the UN statement, continuous monitoring around Japan’s airports confirms that radiation levels are well within safe limits from a health perspective. For updates, travelers visiting Japan by air are advised to consult a dedicated website established by the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau:http://www.mlit.go.jp/koku/flyjapan_en/
“Safety is always the top priority. The transparent and continuous monitoring of the situation has allowed Japanese and international authorities to confirm that Japan’s airports remain open and safe for travelers and transport workers. It is important that governments and industry respond to the challenges of this crisis with best practices supported by expert advice. We are reassured that the UN is not recommending screening measures for passengers coming from Japan,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Link to IATA Press Release

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

[ No Restrictions on travel to Japan ] (1/4/2011)