We’ve watched in horror now for the last five days as newsgroups have covered the devastating earthquake that shook the ground for three minutes straight, the tsunami that washed away entire towns and now the pending nuclear disaster. Attention: Travellers with flights to Japan booked, this information is for you.
British nationals in Japan:
In response to the many requests by British nationals for assistance leaving the area affected by the tsunami, the British Embassy has organised a shuttle coach from Sendai to Tokyo, departing March 17th, 2011. The coach will leave from the Consular Response Centre at ANA Holiday Inn (1-4-1 Shintera Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai) at 12:00 noon. Those wishing to take this shuttle should register by contacting Donna Taylor at the British Embassy in Tokyo (080 3250 2924 if calling from within Japan). One piece of luggage is permitted per passenger.
All British nationals currently in Japan are asked to report to the Foreign Office that they are either safe or require further assistance. They are also urged to contact family and friends in the UK to confirm that they are safe as soon as possible. Where telephones are not available, the use of Social Media like Twitter and Facebook is encouraged.
Foreign Office helpline:
- From Japan: +44 20 7008 0000
- From UK: 020 7008 0000
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Skype: fcojapan
Those wishing to leave Japan altogether should contact their airline company for details on flight departure times and fares. British Airways is operating flights as normal to and from Tokyo Narita and Haneda Airports.
British nationals heading to Japan:
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advices against all but essential travel to Tokyo and the north-eastern part of Japan as of March 16th, 2011 given the news of damage caused by the earthquake on March 11th and resulting aftershocks.
Airlines like British Airways are operating flights as usual to both of Tokyo’s main airports, Haneda and Narita. Travellers are asked to check their flight status before leaving for the airport.
Changing your plans? Passengers due to travel on or before April 10th, 2011 may change the date of their travel up to the September 30th, 2011 or use the value of their ticket towards purchasing a new one to any other destination. Refunds are not available unless the specific fare rules apply.
Transportation & Airports
Travellers should be aware that transportation all over Japan is experience extreme disruptions.
- Japan Rail trains from Tokyo station are operating a limited service, close to none at all
- Tokyo metro is operated a very reduced service
- Bullet trains and Tokyo monorail are operating at full service, with minimum delays
- Narita Express is not operating
- Airport Narita is operating according to schedule
- NRT/Tokyo Narita – OPEN
- HND/Tokyo Haneda – OPEN
- Sendai – CLOSED
- Sado – CLOSED
- UKB/Kobe -OPEN
- KIX/Osaka – OPEN
- Yamagata – OPEN
- Fukushima – Partially OPEN
The situation in Japan remains fragile and travel plans can be disrupted/changed at a moment’s notice. In many parts of the country the infrastructure is very unstable and while international airline carriers continue to operate flights, travellers are requested to reconsider travelling to Japan.