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Foreigners want out of Japan

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Foreigners want out of Japan

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Tokyo (CNN) — Thousands of Japanese settled — perhaps indefinitely — into shelters as the government scrambled to avert a nuclear disaster and foreigners sought to get out of the disaster-struck nation.
Foreign nationals formed long lines at the Tokyo immigration office for permits to temporarily leave and the U.S. Defense Department today authorized the voluntary departure of some relatives of service members stationed in Japan.
The potential number of U.S. military evacuees is “in the thousands,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said, adding that the authorization only applies to family members living on the island of Honshu — site of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant — and will not cover those who are simply visiting.
The United States has also authorized $35 million in humanitarian assistance for Japan, Lapan said, and the U.S. military is sending a nine-member team specializing in responding to nuclear and biological hazards to advise the Japanese government. The team can assess radiation damage and advise on clean-up, among other capabilities.