Asia-Pacific

Japan radiation: 'People are worried'

The Japanese government has warned anyone within the 20km exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant to leave the area immediately.

The warning comes after the plant was rocked by a third blast. Those up to thirty kilometres away have been told to stay indoors and close their windows.

BBC News website readers in Japan have been sharing their experiences of life after the quake.

Sean Palmer and Laura Hughes, Yamagata City

Lauren Cha, Aizumisato, Fukushima

The most frustrating thing here is trying to navigate through conflicting pieces of information and opinions. I am 100km west of the plants. Today people are starting to get worried. Kids at school today have now been told to avoid going outdoors as much as possible.

Teachers at my school are starting to get worried but they are not thinking of leaving. The past two days the school has been open and there have been meetings to discuss the situation.

There will also be many refugees coming in from the East into Aizu. There is a petrol and food shortage. Niigata is the closest prefecture but the Ban-etsu Highway in Fukushima is closed. I'm worried about the task of having to evacuate everyone plus the influx of refugees if the situation worsens.

Yesterday everything seemed fine and normal and we were talked out of leaving, but today the situation looks a bit more grim and everyone is getting worried. Foreign residents are more eager to leave. The reports we are hearing from the international media sound sensational while the local media have been playing down the situation and it is difficult to make a decision based on this.

Me and two other friends are hoping to leave tomorrow. We are going to go to Niigata Prefecture which in the west of Japan.

My family is very worried and I have told them that I will leave the country if things worsen.

Matthew, Tokyo

Sensible precaution or over reaction? Either way many expats I know - and some companies - are now deciding to move wives and children out of Tokyo and Japan altogether.

Other Brits are waiting to see if the FCO upgrades its advice to British nationals in Tokyo to leave.

Some are not waiting for official advice or for their companies to act and are simply putting families on the next flight out.

People are worried that some carriers have cancelled flights due to radiation fears, and that others may follow making it difficult to leave even if the FCO does advise leaving.

I am talking about rational educated people in very senior positions with foreign companies in Tokyo, not just the French, deciding it's just not worth the risk to their families and sending them out as a precaution. Lots of families are heading home.

We are in central Tokyo, close to the government buildings, so the power here is constant and has been maintained. But in suburbs there have been rolling blackouts.

On Friday it took some of our employers six or seven hours to get home.

Restaurants and supermarkets in central Tokyo remain open. I think the further out you get the more sporadic everything gets.

There is a nervousness amongst the foreign community. Some 60 or 70% of office based companies have closed or are running a skeleton staffing.

The city has an eery feel and the mood is suppressed.

Adam Lebowitz, Tsukuba, 150km south of Fukushima

Adam, a university lecturer originally from the US, plans to stay put despite what he describes as a tense and watchful atmosphere. On Tuesday he spoke to the BBC's News channel.

Helen Creak, Sagae-shi, Yamagata Prefecture

I work for the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme in Sagae-shi. My co-workers are carrying on as normal. I found it really bizarre coming in on Monday and carrying on as normal.

It's a busy time for us as there are 14 graduations scheduled for the 16 and 18 March which may have to be postponed. And there's the changeovers to be arranged.

It seems as if the nuclear threat is out of sight and out of mind. When I came in this morning they didn't even have the telly on. I made a decision with a Canadian colleague to put it on to watch the Prime Minister's statement.

It is difficult to make rational decisions when we aren't getting accurate information from the Japanese officials or news stations.

As a British national in Japan I would really like to know if we are being advised to leave the country considering the current nuclear news.

I live in an area relatively unaffected by the tsunami and mildly affected by the quake. We had a power out and now people are scrambling for petrol. Petrol stations closed at noon on Monday.

When the shops re-opened after the earthquake there was lots of panic buying, but of perishable foods such as fruit and veg.

My problem would be that if we were advised to leave I've got no way of getting to Tokyo or to the airport to leave as I don't have access to a car or petrol.

David Williams, Tokyo

I'm watching NHK and the situation is constantly changing. Like Japanese people, I don't believe what we are being told. I'm worried information is being kept from the public.

With the time lag between events happening and us being told, it's getting worrying. It must be far worse for the people in the area.

The earthquakes and aftershocks have become a minor irritant compared to this. If the wind does change as predicted to a northerly, then it will be blowing towards Tokyo and the population centres.

What I'm hearing now about the reactors seems to vindicate my decision to send my family to the west of Japan 700km from Tokyo to stay with relatives.

Initially I thought I was over reacting but now it doesn't seem to be the case.

I'm prepared, I have a bag packed by the door and I have a motor bike to avoid the crowds.

The journey is about the same as from London to Glasgow but it is a relatively small journey to make if it saves our lives.

UK Foreign Office advice

British nationals are being asked to confirm their safety by contacting the Foreign Office on +44 (0)20 7008 0000. That is also the helpline number for people concerned about friends and relatives in Japan.

The Foreign Office is advising against all non-essential travel to Tokyo and the north-east of Japan.