UK visitors told to leave Tokyo and Bahrain

By Doug Newhouse |

The UK Foreign Office (FCO) has followed the lead of countries such as France, the US, Australia and Turkey by issuing a travel advisory to its citizens to leave north eastern areas of Japan and also the capital Tokyo, following the instability caused to the Fukushima nuclear by last Friday’s earthquake. It has also issued similar advice to its citizens to leave Bahrain today, where anti-government violence has escalated in recent days.

In a statement related to Japan, the FCO said: “The overall level of the advice has not changed; we advise against all but essential travel to north eastern Japan and Tokyo. British nationals currently in Tokyo and to the north of Tokyo should consider leaving the area.

“The UK government is chartering flights from Tokyo to Hong Kong to supplement commercially available options for those wishing to leave Japan. The first option for leaving Japan should remain commercial routes. 

“Commercial flights continue to operate to and from Japan. British nationals with commercial flight bookings should continue to use these flights and you should continue to make reservations and other arrangements with your airline as usual.”

Those nationals who cannot secure tickets for a commercial flight are being asked to call a special number (+44 20 7008 6900) where their details will be taken and special charter flights to Hong Kong will be made available to them.

[As of yesterday, the confirmed death toll from Friday’s 9.0 magnitude quake and the subsequent tsunami rose to 5,178, with another 8,606 people still unaccounted for, according to Japanese police-Ed].

Addressing the situation in Bahrain, the FCO said: “We advise against all travel to Bahrain until further notice. As of 0600 Bahrain time on 17 March we recommend that those without a pressing reason to remain should leave. Our assessment remains that, as on 16 March, travel on the main routes on the island during daylight hours is orderly, if slow, in some places because of police checkpoints. 

“You should exercise caution in particular on any routes you use to get to these main routes and consider carefully the situation in your local vicinity before you leave. The British Government has arranged charter flights to supplement existing commercial means.

“A team from the British Embassy has been assessing accessibility and security along the main routes to, as well as at, the airport itself on 17 March. There continues to be sporadic violence around Bahrain, and there are frequent police checkpoints on many routes.” 

The FCO added: “The risk of continued outbreaks of violence is ongoing and the security situation remains uncertain. On 17 March, during daylight hours, the motorway network was safe to use with caution, except for the King Faisal Highway between Seef, and the Sheikh Isa bin Salman Bridge to Muharraq. 

“Travel to the airport was possible with caution from the east and centre of Bahrain via the southern route, i.e. the Sheikh Isa bin Salman highway via Tubli.” 

As in Japan, the UK government is chartering planes for people wishing to leave who have no bookings. These will be available to assist the departure of British nationals from Bahrain to Dubai from today and there is also a special number to register for these ( +44 20 7008 5900). 

The Foreign Office estimates there are several thousand Britons in Bahrain at this time.

Meanwhile, back in Japan, IATA is predicting that airline revenues in particular will fall significantly as business travel to and from Japan slows and big companies move their staff out of Tokyo. Demand for train and road travel out of the city has also rocketed amongst Japanese nationals.



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