RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--This morning (March 18) in response to deteriorating conditions following the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power crisis, all International Mission Board personnel in east Japan began relocating southwest of Tokyo. They will be given temporary assignments south of Nagoya. The relocation is expected to be complete by Saturday, March 19.
In addition, Navy Admiral Robert Willard announced Thursday that the military has developed contingency plans to evacuate 87,000 Americans — including Defense Department personnel — from Tokyo and the surrounding areas.
Please continue praying for the people of Japan and our missionaries who serve among them in this difficult time.
The Baptist Press story posted Thursday, March 17, prior to the IMB relocation announcement follows:
In Japan: Americans wonder
if they should go or stay
By Susie Rain
TOKYO (BP)--One week into the world's worst nuclear emergency in 25 years, the United States has offered to evacuate American citizens living in Japan. The U.S. embassy in Tokyo urged Americans to stay at least 50 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant -- four times the distance recommended by the Japanese government.
Fleeing the country has not been simple for people trying to get out of Japan. Flights have sold out quickly, with lines of prospective passengers snaking out the airport terminal. With no trains and little gasoline, transportation to Tokyo from the north has been nearly impossible.
Two Southern Baptist missionary families living in northeastern Japan already have relocated to southern Japan. The third family, living outside the mandatory evacuation zone -- a 30-mile radius from the nuclear plant -- is in the process of relocating.
Many people in Tokyo, however, have chosen to stay or simply continue moving south. Despite the U.S. Embassy's offer, their own offices in Tokyo remain open and they have not ordered families to leave.
"Why would I want to leave before it's time?" asked an American businessman living in Tokyo. "My family in the States keeps calling and wanting me to leave Japan and come 'home.' They forget that Japan is my home too.
"I'm not saying my family won't ever evacuate," the businessman added, noting he offered the employees of his international business the opportunity to relocate. "It's not the right time for my family. We feel safe and are watching the news and warnings. We feel this is an opportune time to minister to our neighbors and our adoptive country."