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Washington (CNN) -- The U.S. military is considering the mandatory evacuation of thousands of American troops and their families in Japan out of concern over rising radiation levels, a senior defense official tells CNN.
The official, who did not want to be on the record talking about ongoing deliberations, says there are no discussions to evacuate all U.S. troops across the country. The talks have focused exclusively on U.S. troops in Yokosuka, just south of Tokyo, the official said. Yokosuka is home to America's largest naval base in Japan. The military is monitoring radiation levels on a constant basis.
Commander, Naval Forces Japan is recommending limited precautionary measures for personnel on Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Naval Air Facility Atsugi, and surrounding areas including: A. Limiting outdoor activities. B. Securing external ventilation systems as much as practical. These measures are strictly precautionary in nature. We do not expect that any United States Federal radiation exposure limits will be exceeded even if no precautionary measures are taken. We are continuing to analyze the situation and will update you as we learn more.
TOKYO -- Two US Navy ships pulled out of the Japanese base at Yokosuka due to fears over rising radiation, Fox News Channel reported Monday.
The USS George Washington and the USS Lassen left the base, which is located south of Tokyo, as a precautionary measure "to ensure a state of readiness in the long term for the defense of Japan," the US Navy said in a statement.
Fleet Activities Yokosuka comprises 2.3 km² (568 acres) and is located at the entrance of Tokyo Bay, 65 km (40 mi) south of Tokyo and approximately 30 km (20 mi) south of Yokohama on the Miura Peninsula in the Kantō region of the Pacific Coast in Central Honshū, Japan.
Washington, Mar 22 (PTI) US carrier George Washington has left the naval facility at Yokosuka in south of Tokyo, where it was undergoing repairs, amid concerns over radiation from the damaged nuclear power plant.
USS George Washington will remain in the local waters of Japan as part of US''s comprehensive support and commitment to Japan.
"The USS George Washington is scheduled to remain in the local waters of Japan, but is being moved at this point as a precaution, to ensure she is available if needed to respond as necessary and as relevant to any situation throughout the region and so she can sustain a state of readiness for the long term for the defense of Japan," Defence Department spokesman Cmdr Leslie Hull-Ryde said.
Reports said that potassium iodide pills have been distributed to sailors and families remaining at the naval base and at the Atsugi Naval Air Facility.
The USS George Washington left the port of Yokosuka for waters off the coast of Japan on Sunday night with more than 400 shipyard workers aboard. This amid continuing concern over radiation exposure from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Also as a precaution, U.S. Department of Defense personnel and their dependents at Yokosuka, Naval Air Facility Atsugi and military housing facilities have been issued potassium iodide tablets with directions not to take them unless official notification is given, Whitney said. The medicine is available to workers on land and at sea.
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The U.S. military does not expect to turn its “voluntary departure” for servicemembers’ families living in Japan into a mandatory evacuation, the head of the U.S. Pacific Command said Tuesday night.
The United States has contingency plans to evacuate the roughly 87,000 servicemembers, families and Defense Department civilians in Japan and Okinawa, but Adm. Robert Willard told Stars and Stripes that he didn’t anticipate putting them in motion.
“We absolutely don’t expect it,” Willard said. “In fact, I’m trying to see if the reactor accidents stabilize, so that I can bring our forces and the families back to Yokosuka.
The commander, U.S. Pacific Command, directed that precautionary measures be taken due to the potential of future radiological exposures, including directing the distribution of potassium iodide (KI) tablets to military personnel and their families in Yokosuka and Atsugi. Personnel in Yokosuka and Atsugi will not actually take KI unless advised to do so by U.S. or Japanese authorities. Seventh Fleet personnel conducting disaster relief missions inside of 100 nautical miles from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant continue to take KI as a precautionary measure.
Update – 22 March 2011
The piers were completely empty in Yokosuka today, marking the first time in memory that not a single U.S. Navy ship was in port. The men and women of U.S. 7th Fleet were at sea focused on Operation Tomodachi, delivering relief to the people of northeast Honshu. A total of 19 ships, 140 aircraft and 19,703 Sailors and Marines of the U.S. 7th Fleet continued to conduct relief operations. To date the Navy has made 349 deliveries of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief supplies to 84 landing sites.