March 15, 2011 / 4:46 AM / 8 years ago

China to evacuate citizens from Japan quake areas

A resident with a bicycle walks in an area hit by an earthquake and tsunami in Sendai, northeastern Japan March 15, 2011. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will evacuate citizens from areas worst affected by Japan’s earthquake and subsequent damage to nuclear reactors, but has detected no abnormal radiation levels at home, the government said Tuesday.

China’s embassy in Japan said it was organising the evacuation from parts of Japan worst affected by the quake and tsunami “owing to the seriousness of and uncertainty surrounding the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant at present.”

Radiation levels fell at Japan’s quake-stricken nuclear power plant on the northeast coast, the Japanese government said Tuesday, after an earlier spike in radiation.

“Our ministry will continue closely monitoring developments in the accident at the Fukushima Number One Plant, will strengthen monitoring for radiation, and will swiftly report information about this,” said the nuclear safety agency of China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection.

As of 4 p.m. (8 a.m. British time) Tuesday, China’s nuclear safety agency had detected no abnormal radiation, the ministry said in the statement on its website (www.mep.gov.cn).

Winds were expected to carry any radiation from Japan out over the Pacific Ocean and away from China for at least the next three days, the China Meteorological Administration said in a separate statement on its website (www.cma.gov.cn).

Radiation levels in Russia’s Far East rose slightly on Tuesday but stayed within normal levels, Russian officials said.

Japan’s nearest neighbour South Korea said radiation levels remained within a normal range on the peninsula, but added it was taking precautionary measures such as equipping the country’s main Incheon airport with monitors to check incoming passengers.

Like China, South Korea said the weather forecast indicated westerly and north-westerly winds would blow towards Japan over the next couple of days.

Additional reporting by Sui-Lee Wee and Michael Martina in Beijing and Soo Ai Peng in Shanghai; Alison Leung in Hong Kong; Jack Kim in Seoul

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