The U.S. State Department urged Americans on Sunday to avoid tourism and non-essential travel to Japan after a powerful 8.9 earthquake three days ago, citing a high likelihood of strong aftershocks.
Meanwhile, the country’s transportation infrastructure is still crippled, but operational.
Flights have resumed with some delays at the nation’s two international airports in Narita and Haneda. Only the flooded regional airport in Sendai remains closed, the State Department said.
In the Tokyo area, mass transportation has become operational, but has been dramatically scaled back. Rolling blackouts have forced trains and subways to cut services, impacting commuters.
The Japanese government has asked the public not travel unless necessary, a measure aimed at conserving electricity. Electricity remains scarce as a result of damaged power plants, including nuclear reactors that are threatening to unleash radioactive fallout into the atmosphere.
Many roads around the Tokyo area are still damaged and in some far-northern prefectures only emergency vehicles are being allowed in. The public has been asked to avoid driving because traffic signals may not be functional.
The lack of transportation options has especially impacted airport travel. With most major highways to Narita closed, a trip to the airport from Tokyo could take up to eight hours.
Tourism to Japan has also been hobbled by the quake. All the ports of Japan continue to be closed, forcing cruise companies to reroute their ships.
Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 skipped its call at Nagasaki on Saturday and Azamara Club Cruises canceled a planned call on Sunday in Osaka.
In addition, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea resorts will remain closed for about 10 days. Around 20,000 people were stranded overnight in the two theme parks after Friday’s quake.
By Adriana Padilla for PeterGreenberg.com.
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