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Radiation fears spark panic purchases

[ 2011-03-16 10:44]     字号 [] [] []  
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Panic swept Tokyo on Tuesday after a rise in radioactive levels around an earthquake-hit nuclear power plant north of the city, causing some to leave the capital and others to stock up on food and supplies.

Several embassies advised staff and citizens to leave affected areas, tourists cut short vacations and multinational companies either urged staff to leave or said they were considering plans to move outside Tokyo, where low levels of radiation have been detected.

In one sign of the panic, Don Quixote, a multistory, 24-hour general store in Tokyo's Roppongi district, was sold out of radios, torches, candles, fuel cans and sleeping bags on Tuesday as a Reuters reporter visited the shop.

Tourists such as Christy Niver, of Egan, Minnesota, said they had had enough and were leaving. Her 10-year-old daughter, Lucy, was more emphatic. "I'm scared. I'm so scared I would rather be in the eye of a tornado," she said. "I want to leave."

The Czech Symphony Orchestra left Tokyo by bus for Ishikawa prefecture on the west coast.

"Some of them wanted to go home after the earthquake, but it's pretty much impossible to get tickets for a hundred people now," said Hitomi Sakuma, a friend of the orchestra who was seeing them off at a Tokyo hotel.

US banking giant Citigroup said it was keeping workers in Tokyo informed but there were no evacuation orders, said a spokesman, adding that the bank was closely following guidance by the US embassy, which has not urged nationals to leave.

Indian software services provider Zensar Technologies told its 55 employees they can send their families back to India, said Chief Executive Ganesh Natarajan.

"If the situation worsens then we will shift our Japan business to centers in Shanghai and Pune," he said. Pune is a western Indian city where the company is based.

Some international journalists covering the disaster from the worst-hit region around the northeastern city of Sendai, devastated by Friday's mammoth earthquake and tsunami, were pulling out.

The Tokyo office of Michael Page International, a British recruitment agency, was closing for the week.

"I am leaving for Singapore tomorrow and will work from our Singapore office," said one employee.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Radiation fears spark panic purchases

About the broadcaster:

Radiation fears spark panic purchases

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.