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US starts evacuating some Americans out of Japan

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Posted: Mar 17, 2011 2:30 AM by Brittany Rivas
Source: Associated Press

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Topics: Japan, nuclear crisis, earthquake, tsunami, Obama

WASHINGTON- The Obama administration has authorized the first evacuations of Americans out of Japan, and said it will charter aircraft to help U.S. citizens wishing to escape elevated radiation levels in the country.

The State Department late Wednesday issued a warning to Americans to avoid travel to Japan and said U.S. citizens in the country should consider leaving. Its authorized departure offers a voluntary evacuation to family members and dependents of U.S. personnel in Tokyo and Yokohama and affects some 600 people.

Senior State Department official Patrick Kennedy said the chartered planes would help private American citizens wishing to leave.

He said people faced less risk in southern Japan, but warned that changing weather and wind conditions could raise radiation levels elsewhere in the coming days.

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