Tourists are coming back to Japan, booking their holidays, planning their itineraries. Vincent Perez situated in Japan reports on the current state of the local tourism industry.
As you know on March 11th Japan was hit by massive Tsunami causing terrible damages especially to the Fukushima nuclear plant. Four months later, the Japanese nation is gathering all its resources to rebuild the Tohoku area, fix the Fukushima nuclear plant and prove that Japan is safe to travel.
The tourists are more welcome than ever to help Japan. We already received many testimonials from tourists explaining how the Japanese people are thankful for tourists coming to Japan.
People have the image that Japan is a very small island nation, in fact Japan's 143,600 square miles make the island slightly smaller than California. From its northern most point in Hokkaido to its southern most point in Okinawa it is 1,400 miles or the distance from New York to Alabama.
The most popular tourist destinations are located far away from Fukushima. Tourists are coming back step by step and the Gion festival in Kyoto (ending on Sunday, July 17th) was really crowded as every year.
Hopefully, tourists will understand that while the damage to the Tohoku area is extreme, it is very far from most tourist destinations. Our company has two offices, one in the US and one in Japan. Our Office in Japan is located near Osaka and life for our staff is normal without any interruptions. Our President also brought his family to Japan for the summer just like every year.
I personally live in Osaka and I would like to say that I did not change anything in my daily life after the quake, tsunami or nuclear accident and I still practice the same hobby as before. I go to work, take the same packed train every day, go out with my friends… And since I like to ride bicycle I still do it, maybe even more than before though it is now very hot and humid in Japan, I sincerely feel safe in Osaka.
Below are some links that explain the current situation in Japan and show that Japan is safe:
- Disaster Prevention and Nuclear Safety Network for Nuclear Environment http://www.bousai.ne.jp/eng/
This site shows real time maps of current radiation levels in Japan. As you can see the radiation level in most of the country is normal.
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) http://www.iaea.org/About/japan-infosheet.html
To me this is the most important link as the IAEA has nothing to gain from you traveling to Japan. They are simply stating the facts.
- Japan is already rebuilding and the areas hit by the tsunami are much cleaner than before and people are living their normal live again. To have a good idea of the situation in Tohoku please check the following link: http://photogallery.thestar.com/1006372
The most important information I would like to give is that tourists who canceled their travel to Japan after the quake are now coming back. Most of them are planning to visit Japan in autumn and some are already making reservations for spring 2012.
By Vincent Penez
Vincent works in the Japan office of Japan Roads and was in Japan during the quake.