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British nationals in Japan urged to contact British Embassy

All British nationals at present in Japan are being advised to contact the British Embassy in Tokyo.

Following yesterday’s devastating 8.9 earthquake and tsunami near Sendai, north of Tokyo, all British residents and travellers at present in the country are being advised to contact the British Embassy in Tokyo on +81 3 5211 1100 or the Osaka consulate-general on +81 6 6120 5600.

In London, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has set up an emergency helpline on 020 7008 0000 for those who have concerns about relatives or friends at present in Japan. The Japanese Embassy in London has confirmed the quake was the largest recorded event ever to hit Japan.

Ambassador Keeichi Hayashi told reporters the disaster was a great shock to everyone in the country, adding everything possible is being done to help the millions affected and to limit further damage by the powerful aftershocks. This afternoon, a 6.2 quake was reported in Nagano, a province in the foothills of the Japan Alps in the north- central area of Honshu.

The British Embassy states there are no reports of British casualties as yet, although they admit it is early days, saying it is almost impossible to contact the affected areas due to phone lines and mobile phone masts being down.

Reports are now coming in of a massive explosion involving one nuclear reactor suspected of going into meltdown at a Fukushima nuclear power plant 150 miles north of Tokyo. Although the reactor shut down as programmed when the quake struck, a power cut and the failure of a back-up generator prevented coolant being pumped into the area surrounding the fuel rods. The area has been evacuated and radiation levels are said to be high. .

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