Asia-Pacific

Japan crisis: Safety concerns

A couple check a Chinese Embassy noticeboard
Image caption The Chinese embassy in Tokyo is assisting Chinese nationals to return to China

Japan's Emperor Akihito has said he is "deeply worried" about the crisis his country is facing following last Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

He spoke after technicians were forced to temporarily abandon a quake-crippled nuclear plant as radiation surged.

Here BBC News website readers discuss plans to evacuate or sit tight.

Juita Mohamad, returned to Malaysia

Image caption "I was very concerned about the nuclear crisis"

I am a student who has been living in Shinjuku in Tokyo. I decided to leave Japan on Monday and return to Malaysia.

I was afraid that I would not reach the airport in time as transportation services were being cut back, so I left in plenty of time.

Now most of my friends living in Tokyo are having trouble getting to the airport as transportation services dwindle and taxis are constantly full.

I left Japan because I was very concerned about the nuclear crisis. It was a difficult decision to make but I felt that the situation could deteriorate in an instant so I decided to trust my instinct and leave the country.

Hopefully I will stay in Malaysia for two weeks but it could end up being longer.

I don't think that the government is being transparent about what is happening.

After the earthquake I was afraid to fall asleep due to the ongoing aftershocks. By Sunday, food in the convenience stores and supermarkets had gone.

A lot of my friends have now left Tokyo.

I am back at home, but worry deeply about friends who remain behind, and I praying for their safety.

R. Tunaley, left Tokyo for Okinawa

We got out of Tokyo on Sunday on one of the first Bullet trains running to Nagoya, we stayed with my wife's family.

After problems with the second and third reactor I decided to get the family to the airport and on the first flight to Naha in Okinawa.

I left with a pair of jeans, some socks, undies and two shirts, plus my girls.

It was very emotional leaving Tokyo under these circumstances as what has happened is devastating.

It is incredibly surreal to pick up a bag with the bare minimum and just move away. As this situation deteriorates you begin to question whether you can ever go back to what you have walked away from.

Tokyo is only about 150 miles away from the Fukushima plant and with a family it was too risky to stay.

Over the past two days we have heard of five other families from the Kanto region who have decided to leave.

There are some travel document issues for my wife so she cannot fly to the UK unless she renews her passport and she cannot do that unless she returns to Tokyo, so we cannot leave Japan.

Japanese people are fantastic in these situations. I just saw a woman on the news who received her first hot rice cake and hot miso soup in five days and she was so thankful.

We are staying in a hotel now and my little girl is colouring, playing with the one soft toy we took from home.

Robert Emmett, making plans to evacuate son from Tokyo

I am concerned after hearing the Emperor speaking on television, because for him to do something like this is extremely rare.

It leads me to believe that the situation has either deteriorated or could do so.

I am putting plans in place to evacuate my 13-year-old son to Birmingham in the UK as as a precautionary measure. He can stay with my sister there.

I am hearing reports that other embassies are evacuating their citizens, that helped me make my decision.

I have work commitments so cannot leave that easily. As a family we are still debating the situation. We are being told that there is nothing to panic about but reports are conflicting so it is difficult to make a decision.

The shop shelves are empty and petrol stations are closed, and many people are not able to get to work while students have been told to remain at home until further notice.

Louis Chung, Canadian in Sendai, plans to stay for now

Image caption "I am trying to stay as positive as possible"

Amidst all that's happened so far, the anxiety many people here feel is compounded by the vague nature of the information that's been provided, or even the lack of information.

With the fluidity of the situation and the lack of concrete information, it's almost impossible to make informed decisions. One can only speculate, and hope for the best.

Right now it seems like some embassies are offering their nationals options to leave the area. So far the Canadian embassy has not done this. For me, I don't think that it is quite time to leave.

I am trying to stay as positive as possible. There is no gas for heating homes or for cooking.

In terms of the nuclear reactor, from what I have read there is no risk to human health as yet.

Where I teach, we have got in touch with some students who are due to start their course and have rescheduled their entrance until the end of the month.

We are unable to get in touch with some others to reschedule them but I am hoping they are ok.

UK Foreign Office advice

UK nationals are being asked to confirm their safety by contacting the Foreign Office (FCO) on +44 (0)20 7008 0000. That is also the helpline number for people concerned about friends and relatives in Japan, and 5,480 people had called it as of Tuesday night.

A bus has been organised to take Britons from Sendai to Tokyo on Thursday. It will leave from the consular response centre at the ANA Holiday Inn at midday local time (0300 GMT).

Passengers wanting to register should call the British embassy in Tokyo on (+81) 80 3250 2924 or (+81) 35 211 1356 if calling from the UK, or 080 3250 2924 or 035 211 1356 if calling within Japan.

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