More:Information on Japan's Earthquake and Tsunamis | How You Can Help | Travel-Related and Contact Information | For concerns about a specific U.S. citizen in Japan, email JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov.
On March 16, 2011, Under Secretary of State Pat Kennedy and Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Poneman held a special briefing on the situation in Japan. Under Secretary Kennedy said:
"As a result of the tragic earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan on March 11th, the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant were badly damaged and have experienced a series of failures that pose a serious hazard in the vicinity of the plant and a potential health hazard to a broader region.
"The United States continues to support the strenuous and heroic effort by Japanese responders to address this nuclear emergency and is making available all relevant expertise, assets, equipment, and technology at our disposal. Our commitment to our Japanese ally is unshakable, and as President Obama said, we stand by the Japanese people in this time of trial.
"Despite the best efforts of responders, the situation remains very serious. Given the situation, we recommended the evacuation of American citizens to at least 50 miles, in keeping with the guidelines applied in the United States. Since the continued or increased release of windborne radioactive material cannot be ruled out, American citizens in Japan are advised to take prudent precautions against potentially dangerous exposure. As a general matter, residents in areas further from Fukushima Prefecture face less risk of significant exposure, but changing weather conditions and wind direction means that radiation levels in the future might become elevated.
"The Department of State urges American residents in Japan to take prudent precautions against the risk of sustained exposure, including relocating for potentially affected areas in northeastern Japan. The Department of State has authorized the voluntary departure, including relocation to safe areas within Japan, for family members and dependents of U.S. Government officials who wish to leave northeast Japan. The U.S. Government is also working to facilitate the departure of private American citizens from the affected areas -- that is a 50-mile radius of the reactor -- and a Travel Warning containing detailed information has been issued at www.travel.state.gov.
"All Embassy, consulate, and other U.S. Government operations continue and are unaffected by this action. The Department of Defense has confirmed that U.S. military services and operations also continue without interruption. U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian assistance teams continue to assist the Japanese authorities throughout the area affected by the earthquake and tsunami.
"American citizens are encouraged to carefully monitor the www.travel.state.gov website and the associated guidance that it provides."
You can read the full transcript of the briefing here.