Colombia to evacuate nationals in Japan

The Colombian government has announced it will send a plane to Japan this weekend to evacuate the some 300 Colombian nationals that wish to return after last week’s earthquake and tsunami, Spanish news agency EFE reported Thursday.

“The Colombian Air Force is planning a flight for the weekend, which is being coordinated by the embassy, giving priority to those most in need,” according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release.

The Colombian government is dealing with Colombians currently living in Japan on a case by case basis, and has accordingly set up applications for assistance with returning to Colombia, to be delivered to the Colombian Embassy in Tokyo after March 17.

Additionally, together with Chile, Colombia is scheduling flights from Tokyo to Korea for its citizens who wish to go to that country.

According to the official census, 1,820 Colombians are registered at the consulate in Tokyo and 300 currently want to leave Japan, said Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin.

A total of 27 Colombians live in the areas most affected by the earthquake and tsunami (Miyagi, Fukushima, Iwate and Aomori) and three of them have not yet been in contact with officials, according to information provided by the Colombian embassy in Japan.

Colombia reiterated its full confidence in the Japanese government, which has only called for evacuation of people living within about 12 miles of the Fukushima nuclear plant, and said that only an evacuation warning would cause Colombia to consider moving diplomatic or consular personnel out of Tokyo.

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