Advice needed from anybody in Japan

I can’t wade through the 344+ posts to TokyoPlayer’s thread, but could use some advice.

My wife, after two days, finally was able to get through to her sister and family in Tokyo. The are all right and their house is undamaged, but she is panicking about the nuclear plant problem.

From what I hear so far, even if the worst happens, it being some 170 miles distant, Tokyo should not be in any danger. But who knows?

She is so upset they have loaded down the car and were about ready to flee the city. I think my wife talked them into waiting, as we expect the streets out of the city will be a problem, as well as the roads south. I read today that some reporters who left found all gas stations shut down as well as stores being out of food and water.

Her first impulse is to get down to Kyoto where another sister lives, but that would be, I suspect, and arduous trip.

What is your take on this? Should she sit tight and live in a state of perpetual panic (it is genetic, as my wife is a champion worrier too), or would it be wise to head for Kyoto or Osaka?

We told them if they were that worried, to get somewhere where the airports are working and come to our home in Phoenix.

Any advice?

Look at how the winds usually travel. If the winds are usually west-to-east, and the plant sites are well to the north, then even if something does happen, it won’t affect them immediately.

Edit: that being said, the pluses of being with relatives are great.

Driving the 9 hours down to Kyoto, among other panicked drivers, would be more dangerous than staying put in Tokyo, IMHO. I don’t know the exact state of affairs with regard to the power plants, but even if they completely melt down, I can’t see how it would effect residents of Tokyo too much.

autoclyus posted this link outlining the nuclear situation:

If you accept the stuff at face value, then there is absolutely nothing to worry about on the nuclear meltdown front. It’s a good read

I think people keep remember Chernobyl, which elevated levels were found all over Europe except for Spain and Portugal. However 60% of it was concentrated in nearby Belarus.

A lot of people also, don’t trust the government to tell the truth. In Chernobyl it was in Sweden where it was first detected. At the nuclear power plants in that country the workers were showing higher than normal radiation levels and at first they thought it was from the Swedish plants.

Ironically Finland didn’t detect it due to a civil servant strike.

A lot depends on what you believe the government is telling you or not

I have a good many friends who live in Tokyo, and I’ve been in regular contact with many of them during this situation. They are (for the most part) intelligent, informed people, and they are not particularly concerned that they will be in danger from the reactor problems. And, given all the concrete in Tokyo, I suspect that even a worst-case scenario would be an imperceptible increase in exposure.

I recommend your sis pack an earthquake-prep kit. Flashlight, most important small valuables, small medical stuff, errr… brain failing at the moment.

But, don’t panic. Barring another crisis, Tokyo should be fine. I have lots of friends there, and the reactor has not caused them to panic. The only people panicking seem to be those abroad listening to the news.

Klondike emailed me, and I provided my reasons for staying in Tokyo, even with a toddler and a baby. We’ll watch the radiation levels, but are staying put for now, being downwind, and the relative low risk.

I have a daughter north of the nuke plant about 170 miles and they don’t seem to be worried. They also had utilities back up on Sunday night. They are well educated and are reasonably safety conscience people. I say listen to local newscast if you can and be able to leave at a minutes notice should the situation get a lot worse.

Thanks, all for the good advice and information.

They have finally decided that it would not be wise to try to leave, and are going to stay put for the time being. From what we have heard and read, there are few, if any, gas stations open, and no food or water in the stores along the highways, so doubt whether they could ever make Kyoto anyway.

All we can do now is keep our fingers crossed for all you folks in Japan and hope for the best. The Japanese are an amazingly strong and resourceful people, and will get through this somehow, despite the horror of it all.