The Coming Exodus of Foreigners from Japan?

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Travelers wait in front of a check-in counter at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

Haruyoshi Yamaguchi / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Two European embassies urge their citizens to think about leaving Tokyo.

There could be an exodus of foreign residents out of Tokyo, reports TIME’s Lucy Birmingham, who is based in the city. The French Embassy on Sunday evening issued a website warning to its citizens recommending they leave the area of the Japanese capital for the next few days.

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This highly unusual move came in response to an official announcement Sunday morning from Japan’s Meteorological Agency stating there is a 70% chance of earthquake aftershocks with a magnitude of 7 could hit the Tokyo metropolitan area in the next three days and a 50% chance in the days following. The statement said: “Because of the risk of uncertainties of anything nuclear that could happen, it seems reasonable to recommend to all those not having any particular reason to stay in the Kanto area (Tokyo region) to remain away for a few days. We strongly recommend against travel to Japan at this time.”

The German embassy made a similar announcement, saying German residents in Japan should assess if their presence in the country is necessary. If not, they should consider leaving, especially families with small children. –by Lucy Birmingham / Tokyo

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