Q: Is it safe to visit Japan now?
A: I’ve been asked this by a lot of people this week. Here’s how things are standing at the moment:
- Any areas of Tohoko directly impacted by the Tsunami are only just beginning to get basic supplies through. The situation is still bad, very bad there. You’d be taking up resources and just getting in the way. Please don’t plan to visit.
- Tokyo is pretty much fine although today there was an advisory for infants to not drink tap water. Shops sell out a little quicker than usual, especially of things like bottled water, batteries and some food stuffs. Generally it seems OK though.
- Anything from Kyoto and Southwards is 100% working as usual. As you saw in the videos this week, Kyushu and Shikoku are like nothing has happened, the quake wasn’t even felt down here. People are back to work to keep Japan’s economy going and to help the people up north.
- Only slight exception to this is Osaka where due to panic by foreign companies in Tokyo hotel beds are in short supply! Again, blame the English speaking press.
Although tourism only makes up a small part of Japan’s overall economy, it still is important for a lot of small business and for a lot of livelihoods.
Whilst I can never say Japan is totally safe – we are after all living on volcanoes sticking out of the sea – please don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers.
The tsunami was huge, we’ve never seen anything like that before, but we now have moved on to trying to help the survivors there.
Pretty much everywhere else is back to normal, if anything people are more supportive of visitors after all the emergency teams that countries has sent.
In fact I was in a restaurant a few days after the quake hit and one woman was almost on her knees thanking * me * for sending emergency teams! *
So if you are planning on visiting Kyoto or the south of Japan, please do come and help support the recovery!
* Needless to say I’m not a qualified rescue person. I can only do a little to help. Hence for this week I’m donating all the money from my main Teacher’s Pack to the Japanese Red Cross. If you’ve ever thought about teaching English it’s a fantastic investment. But the offer is only valid till Friday March 25th Midnight Japan Time – so get your skates on!