• Sweden's news in English

Swedes flee Japan amid quake's devastation

TT/The Local/dl · 12 Mar 2011, 22:57

Published: 12 Mar 2011 10:14 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Mar 2011 22:57 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Many Swedes are also working to get out of Japan in the wake of the destruction and in light of a threatening nuclear accident.

"It's really nasty with the risk of a meltdown hanging in the air," Swede Hanna Myrling told the TT news agency.

She and her boyfriend Ola Olsson are planning to leave Japan on Sunday via a flight to Malaysia.

Myrling described the atmosphere in Tokyo as tense.

"Most stores and restaurants are closed. There are hardly any cars on the roads," she said.

Embassy counselor Kaj Reinius with the Swedish embassy in Tokyo has no information on whether or not any Swedes may be near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant which exploded on Saturday morning, Swedish time.

"Clearly, an explosion at a nuclear power plant is a serious matter. But it's very important now that the media – and this is something the Japanese government is also saying – spreads accurate information," he told TT.

All the Swedes that the foreign ministry's consular section knew were visiting the most devastated by the earthquake have been heard from, either directed to the foreign ministry or through relatives, ministry spokesperson Joakim Larrson wrote on the foreign ministry's blog on Saturday evening.

Larsson emphasised however, that there may be more Swedes in the area.

It remains unknown exactly how many Swedes were in Japan at the time of the earthquake. In 2010, around 2,000 inbound trips were registered, but only about 500 Swedes have chosen to register themselves with the embassy in Tokyo.

Around 15 are thought to have been in Sendai, one of the cities most affected by he massive tremor which rocked Japan on Friday afternoon, local time, measuring an estimated magnitude of 8.9 and triggering a powerful tsunami which devastated large swaths of the country's coastline.

So far there have been no reports that any of them have been injured or killed, according to the foreign ministry.

According to the foreign ministry, most Swedes in Japan are thought to be concentrated in and around Tokyo.

Despite the chaotic situation, the Swedish foreign ministry has no new advice for Swedes currently in Japan.

"Our advice right now is to follow the Japanese authorities guidance," foreign ministry spokesperson Tobias Nilsson told the TT news agency in Stockholm.

Story continues below…

The foreign ministry is considering advising Swedes against visiting the worst hit areas, something which both Norway and the UK have done for their citizens.

Scandinavian airline SAS said on Saturday it plans to resume flights from Copenhagen to Japan, as Tokyo's Narita international airport has reopened.

The company hasn't noticed any increased demand for trips to Scandinavia from Japan.

"But in situations like this, the airlines always help each other, and we've had requests from other country's embassies who want to know how we're flying," SAS spokesperson Elisabeth Manzi told TT.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:47 March 12, 2011 by logi
it is a devastating thing, i hope these missing people are found
11:46 March 12, 2011 by star10
hope they will return safely. A very tragic disaster.
13:28 March 12, 2011 by malsikcuf
This is a tragedy. I hope the people of Japan will recover quickly from this disaster.
18:10 March 12, 2011 by rquick
Let's hope *ALL* the missing people are found!
19:47 March 12, 2011 by Japonaise
Thank you, Swedes, for your sincere compassion.

We are in the most serious danger since WW2, I guess.
20:18 March 12, 2011 by Zala Russe
Our best wishes to all in Japan, of whatever nationality, creed, culture etc caught up in this maelstrom. Japan has always shown impressive resilience. It will be needed now to rebuild lives, families, just as much as the economy. Hopefully this will include a re-evaluation of the nuclear power program.

Your friends in The North wish you well.
20:47 March 12, 2011 by matona1
may God return them safely ,best of luck to japanese people
23:50 March 12, 2011 by Gabin
Nihon skidesse.
02:27 March 13, 2011 by INORI
at least 1000 people died, 10000 people are missing, and 39000 are taking refuge until now.

some places were submerged by tunami and large numbers of houses were totally destroyed.

almost 300 dead bodies have been left on the seashore, and some people were exposed to radiation because of the nuclear accident.

the earthquakes are still happening day and night, and some people haven't been rescued yet.

please pray for people in Japan.

give your support.

your donation is also a big help.
04:16 March 13, 2011 by wenddiver
Japan should ask the US to include General Honre' in the requested assistance from the US Military, he really took charge and got things straightened out in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Prior to his arrival the government was just overwhelmed.

Once the two Super carriers arrive their Nuclear Reactors can power a city, and each flight deck is convertible to a large hospital. They have tremedouse capacity for making fresh water and lots of technical people on board. Once the US Navy Sea-Beas get a decent Military runway set up the entire might of the free world can poor in. Don't despair, boil all drinking water.
00:34 March 14, 2011 by rquick
And if you donate, make sure you donate to an official organisation like the Red Cross. There are already scams going on.
Today's headlines
Gothenburg 'one of Europe's most segregated cities'
An Isis flag in Kirkuk, Iraq. Photo: Uncredited/AP

One in ten school students in Gothenburg's north-eastern suburbs sympathize with religious extremist organizations, according to a survey.

Julian Assange
Sweden won't suspend Assange warrant for funeral
Assange has been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP

The WikiLeaks founder has requested a temporary suspension of an arrest warrant so he could leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the funeral of his mentor.

Swedish football diehard who went viral doesn't get the fuss
Possibly the most dedicated fan in the world. Photo: Patric Söderström/TT

A picture of Gefle IF celebrating with the only fan to make a 1164km round trip to see them has gone viral. The Local spoke to the diehard in question.

'I want to see women priests in the Catholic Church'
Archbishop Antje Jackelén meeting Pope Francis earlier in 2016. Photo: L'Osservatore Romano/AP

'I told the pope last year during a speech it is time to no longer speak for women about women, but to speak with women,' Sweden's Archbishop says.

Sweden one of world's easiest places to do business: report
A meeting at a Stockholm office. Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

It is easier to do business in Sweden now than it was last year, according to a World Bank report.

This Swede has built a procrastinator's dream
Anders Åberg has built a website that allows you to hear what’s going on above the Earth. Photo: Personal & NASA

Ever wondered what's going on in the sky above the earth and in space? Now you can hear for yourself.

Presented by Malmö Tourism
Seven reasons why Malmö is the football capital of Sweden
Players from FC Rosengård, Sweden's most successful women's football team. Photo: Hangsna

It’s official, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.

Fake police car driver seized after confronting real police
File photo of a police car. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Three men in a fake police car were left red-faced after they tried to stop a man in southern Sweden who turned out to be an off-duty officer.

This tiny bird can fly for ten months straight: scientists
The common swift while not in flight. Photo: Madis Veskimeister/Wikimedia

Swedish scientists have found that this bird stays in the air for almost a year without landing.

Why the Pope is visiting Sweden next week
Pope Francis in the Vatican. Photo: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

Pope to nail reconciliation agenda to Lutherans' door in southern Sweden.

Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
People-watching: October 26th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available