News from JNTO

JAPAN TRAVEL ADVISORY (Updated Dec. 1st, 2014)

1. Earthquake in Northern Nagano (update: Nov. 25th, 2014, still current at: Dec. 1st, 2014)

An earthquake struck the northern part of Nagano Prefecture on November 22, 2014. 

According to Nagano Prefecture and Hokuriku Shinetsu District Transport Bureau, the ski resorts and the ski lifts in Hakuba and Otari area are not damaged.

According to Nagano Prefecture, most of the roads that lead from Nagano City to Hakuba and Otari are unaffected and normally passable.

According to East Japan Railway Company, the railroad from Nagano and Matsumoto to Hakuba restarted their normal operation on November 25, 2014.

Related links:

Nagano Prefecture Home Page

Hakuba Village Home Page

 

2. The Effect from the Eruption of Mt. Ontake (update: Oct. 28th, 2014, still current at: Dec. 1st, 2014)

Mt. Ontake, a 3067-meter volcano located on the west side of the Kiso Valley, erupted around noon on September 27th, 2014.

According to the Nagano Prefecture Tourism Department, the mountain is currently closed for climbing until further notice.  Nearby Route 19, the amin highway along the Kiso Valley, as well as the JR Chuo Line which also runs along the Kiso Valley, and the Chuo Expressway are all operating as usual.

Tourist destinations in Nagano Prefecture (such as Matsumoto, Kamikochi, Kiso Valley including Tsumago) as well as Gifu Prefecture (such as Takayama, Gero, Shirakawa-go, Okuhida region and Magome) are not affected and safe to visit.

The only area to be affected by the eruption is a 4km radius cautionary zone that has been set up around Mt. Ontake for danger of falling ash.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism reports the following regarding to the tourism-related facilities.

  • Ontake Ropeway (gondola) has suspended the operation.
  • Ontake Kotsu Company suspended two bus routes around the mountain.
  • Entry to local roads to Mt. Ontake are restricted.
  • No other roads, railways and transport facilities are affected.
  • There is no airport closure or flight cancellation.

 Related Links:

Information of Nagano Prefecture

Information of Gifu Prefecture

Information of Takayama City

 

3. Post-Earthquake and Tsunami Situation

We are grateful for the warm support and thoughts from many people after the historic earthquake in Japan on March 11.

Despite Japan experiencing an unprecedented natural disaster in March 2011, the majority of Japan, including popular tourist destinations, withstood the natural disaster and rapidly recovered. The U.S. Department of State removed the travel alert to Japan on April 13, 2012, stating that "tourist facilities are widely available, except in coastal areas of Northeast Japan still recovering from the aftermath of the March, 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami."

International organizations such as IAEA and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, have affirmed the condition of the reactors as stable and safe. The U.S. government recommends that U.S. citizens avoid all unnecessary travel to areas described by the Japanese government on the following map (Japanese version map ).

The Current Radiation Level in Japan

Except for the neighboring areas near the nuclear power plants, there is no dangerous level of radiation detected in Japan. Tokyo is NOT within radiation contamination area, as it is located over 200km (124 miles) away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant facilities. The radiation level in Tokyo is similar to that of New York City.

You can confirm the international comparison of radiation level here.

Government's Decision on Addressing the Contaminated Water Issue

In order to tackle the contaminated water issue at the TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plants, the Government of Japan has decided, mobilizing expertise of all the government authority, to play a further proactive role in taking countermeasures against the issue. In this context, on 3rd September, the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters decided "Basic Policy for the Contaminated Water Issues at the TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.(PDF) " Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) considers public health and safety as the top priority for international travelers to Japan, and continues to provide latest information from Japanese and international authorities and regulators.

At present, statistically-significant increase of radioactive concentration in the sea outside the port of the TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi NPS has not been detected. However, the Government of Japan will continue to pay the closest attention to the situation, make every effort to work on the contaminated water leakage issue, and provide information to the international community in an appropriate way.

Basic Facts on Influence of Contaminated Water

Influence of contaminated water is limited in the port of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants, which is smaller than 0.3km2 (74 acres). The government's monitoring system detects that the radiation level of the sea water stays below the standard of 10 Bq/L. The government's Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters has issued the basic policy for the contaminated water issues here.

How is the safety of drinking water and food in Japan?

Products distributed to the public, including food and water, are rigorously inspected and approved by Japanese authorities for contamination safety. The Japanese government has instituted a food product monitoring system from the world's highest level of standard, screening over 412,000 agricultural products. So far, there are only 2,866 items (0.69%) has exceeding level of radiation, and these items have been already removed from distribution and disposed. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is disclosing results from the current radiation test on food and water here:

Tap Water: http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/2011eq/index_water_supply.html

Other food products:
http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/2011eq/index_food_radioactive.html (updated daily)


 

Other References:

U.S. Department of State
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1148.html

Embassy of the United States in Japan
Radiation, Health and Food Safety Information Post-Fukushima

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/page3e_000072.html

The office of Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/incident/index.html
 

4. More Information

Since the March 11 earthquake, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) continues to release updates on its website, including radiation conditions, transportation, events and other travel-related information.

For visitors currently traveling in Japan, the Tokyo Headquarters of Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) provides information service at the Tourist Information Center (TIC):

TIC in Tokyo

1st Fl, Shin-Tokyo Building, 3-3-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0005

Phone: +81-(0)3-3201-3331

Service in English, Chinese and Korean

Open Daily (except Jan. 1) from 9am to 5pm

5. Links

  • JNTO's Headquarters Notice --- Check the updates & many useful links.


 

(Statements from international authorities)


 

(Tourist Information Centers (TIC) in Japan)

Information is provided as a courtesy to users of this website. Though the JNTO endeavors to ensure the information is accurate, users of the information are to act on such using their own judgement and at their own risk. Neither the JNTO nor any holder of copyright to the information shall be held responsible in any way whatsoever for any loss or misunderstanding, either direct or indirect, that is incurred as a result of utilizing the information.


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