Friday, March 11th, 2011, 11:19 am.
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the situation in Japan in the aftermath of a powerful earthquake, measuring 8.9 magnitude, that struck northern Japan on March 11. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to Japan at this time. This Travel Alert expires on April 1, 2011.
The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid tourism and non-essential travel to Japan at this time. Tokyo airports are currently closed; other airports in Japan may be closed or have restricted access. Public transportation, including trains and subways are closed in the Tokyo area, and service has been interrupted in other areas. Many roads have been damaged in the Tokyo area and in northern Japan.
Strong aftershocks are likely for weeks following a strong earthquake such as this one. The American Red Cross recommends that in the event of aftershocks, persons should move to open spaces away from walls, windows, buildings, and other structures that may collapse, and should be alert to the danger of falling debris. If you are indoors, DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON: If possible, seek cover under a sturdy desk or table, hold on, and protect your eyes by pressing your face against your arm. If there is no table or desk nearby, sit on the floor against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you. Avoid damaged buildings and downed power lines. Great care should be used with matches, lighters, candles, or any open flame due to the possibility of disrupted gas lines.
U.S. citizens currently in Japan should contact family and friends in the United States to confirm their well-being at the earliest opportunity. Where internet and telephone services are not available, it may be possible to contact people using SMS (Cell text message) or other forms of social media such as Twitter and Facebook. U.S. citizens may contact the Department of State at JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov and the emergency contact numbers below.
U.S. citizens in Japan are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at the following website: travelregistration.state.gov . U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulates. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy/Consulates to contact them in case of emergency.
Updated information on travel and security in Japan may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. For further information, please consult the Country Specific Information for Japan, as well as the Worldwide Caution, which can be found at www.travel.state.gov.