Manila orders nationals out of Japan nuclear plant zone

04/12/2011 - The Philippines on Tuesday ordered the mandatory repatriation of around 2,000 Filipino citizens from within a 50-km (30 mile) radius of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant after Japan raised the accident's severity to the highest level.

Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency raised the severity of the incident to level 7 from 5 -- the same as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster -- based on cumulative quantities of radiation released.

"We are initiating action to repatriate on a mandatory basis Filipinos who are within the 50-km radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant," Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario told a news conference.

However, the order would be optional for Filipinos who were married to a Japanese citizen.

For those between 50 km and 100 km from the plant, the Philippines is offering voluntary repatriation, he said.

The first batch of Filipinos to return would fly out from Tokyo's Niigata airport on Sunday and will undergo "proper health screening", he said.
In February, the Philippines began organising an evacuation of workers in Libya, but less than half of estimated 26,000 people there have returned. Credit Article Reuters


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