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Due to the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that heavily damaged Japan on March 11, 2011, the U.S. State Department has issued an alert that instructs all U.S. citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Japan. This alert will expire on April 1.

It is reported that Narita and Haneda airports opened for air traffic today, although hundreds of flights have been cancelled. For those fliers who need to change their plans, most airlines will allow customers to change flights free of charge because of the disaster. Check with your carrier for further information. Tokyo's public train system is already operating close to normal. However, many roads have been damaged in the country and travel is still difficult.

Approximately 83 aftershocks have been reports since the earthquake. In this instance the American Red Cross recommends:

Persons should move to open spaces away from walls, windows, buildings, and other structures that may collapse, and should be alert to the danger of falling debris. If you are indoors, DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON: If possible, seek cover under a sturdy desk or table, hold on, and protect your eyes by pressing your face against your arm. If there is no table or desk nearby, sit on the floor against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you. Avoid damaged buildings and downed power lines. Great care should be used with matches, lighters, candles, or any open flame due to the possibility of disrupted gas lines.

The U.S. State Dept. encourages citizens to enroll in their STEP Program (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) before travel to any foreign location. This can facilitate help in case of emergency overseas. Read my article, linked below, about this program.

For more info: JFK Airport departure and arrival information

Do you register with the government before travel? STEP Program

Before you Donate to Japan, Read This

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