The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) announced they are no longer advising against non-essential travel to Tokyo, nor do they recommend that people consider leaving. The decision to revise the travel advice for Japan was taken on 5 April at a meeting chaired by the Foreign Secretary in the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR).
“The previous advice took into account the impact of the earthquake on infrastructure and on the distribution of supplies, as well as the potential for the situation at Fukushima to directly affect Japan’s largest city. On the first point, a lot of progress has been made in restoring infrastructure and the supply of essentials like petrol and food is almost back to normal. As progress is made at Fukushima and the reactors continue to cool, the chances of a serious deterioration at Fukushima recede, and the adjusted worst case scenario would no longer pose a serious radiation risk to residents of Tokyo,” said Tom Burn, Head of the Media and Communications at the British Embassy in Tokyo.
Many popular destinations in Japan, including Hokkaido, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Okinawa, were outside the area affected by the disaster and incurred no disruption to infrastructure. Everything in these areas is operating as normal, yet visitors to Tokyo have dropped by 75% and to Osaka by 50%.
“Thousands of people in the areas unaffected by the earthquake and tsunami rely on tourism for their livelihoods. April and May are beautiful times to visit Japan, with the cherry blossom currently in full-bloom in Tokyo and Kyoto. So as you contemplate plans for future holidays, please consider Japan. It’s an incredible destination and it continues to warmly welcome visitors just as it did before this terrible tragedy,” said Kylie Clark, PR & Marketing Manager, Japan National Tourism Organization London office.
Japan specialist tour operators, InsideJapan Tours say they had been very frustrated with the FCO advisory against non-essential travel to Tokyo.
“We have had several frustrating weeks as a result of the advice which quickly became inaccurate and outdated with regards to the capital city. InsideJapan Tours have a fantastic network of staff, partners, suppliers and friends on the ground and receive accurate and reliable information direct from Japan. We have a fantastic customer service and safety record and would never want to compromise this. Tokyo is safe and the vast majority of Japan continues life as normal and we have confidently continued to send our customers to this fantastic country knowing that they will be safe and have the cultural experience of a lifetime.
The Japanese people need and want foreign tourism now more than ever, and there is absolutely no reason why people should not visit now. Initial feedback from our customers suggests that InsideJapan Tour were more than justified in encouraging their customers to continue their travels to this truly inspiring nation,” said James Mundy of InsideJapan Tours.
Jamie Cassidy, British Airways’ area general manager, Asia Pacific, said: “We’ve been flying to Japan for more than 60 years and we, like everyone, were devastated by the natural disasters they have faced. The Japanese people’s resilience and determination have been a true credit to them and we want to do all we can to support them. We resumed flying to Tokyo on April 2 and in order to get help tourism we’re taking £150 off our fares, and offering Tokyo for £649 over the summer. Japan is a truly beautiful and fascinating country with warm and welcoming people and I would thoroughly recommend that travellers take this opportunity to experience it.”