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US urges citizens to avoid travel to Japan

world Updated: Mar 16, 2011 11:24 IST

AFP
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The US government urged Americans today to avoid travel to Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the country.

"The Department of State requests all non-essential official US government personnel defer travel to Japan and also urges US citizens to avoid tourism and non-essential travel to Japan at this time," said a travel advisory issued by the department.

The department said that many roads had been damaged in the Tokyo area and in northern Japan, and strong aftershocks were likely to continue for weeks.

The advisory contained no mention of a feared meltdown of two reactors at a quake-hit nuclear plant in northeastern
Japan where more than 10,000 were feared dead.

An explosion at the ageing Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant blew apart the building housing one of its reactors yesterday, a day after the biggest quake ever recorded in Japan unleashed a monster 10-metre tsunami.

The atomic emergency widened today as the cooling systems vital for preventing overheating failed at a second
reactor, and the government warned there was a risk it too could be hit with a blast.