Switzerland has announced that its embassy in Tokyo has been transferred to Osaka, 600 km south of the Japanese capital.
A foreign ministry statement said the temporary move had been made because of the “uncertain situation” in Tokyo, and in particular around the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant.
The ministry said the embassy would continue to support those Swiss who wanted to leave the country, after the massive quake and resulting tsunami nine days ago.
It added that it was continuing to advise Swiss to leave Tokyo and the northeast of the country.
In a related development, Swiss International Air Lines announced that it had changed its Sunday flight plan to Japan as a result of uncertain weather conditions there.
The carrier said its Tokyo flight would land in Osaka as a precautionary measure.
On Saturday, the Swiss rescue team sent to Japan after the disaster returned to Zurich.
The team, which included 23 specialists and nine rescue dogs, operated about 100 km north of Sendai, that is around 150 km from the stricken nuclear power plants in Fukushima.
A foreign ministry statement said the team managed to locate three people who had been buried by rubble, with information then passed on to Japanese colleagues.
The statement noted that Switzerland was still active on the ground in Japan. Humanitarian aid experts were in Tokyo and Osaka, in particular helping Swiss embassy officials.
It added that the mission had been very much appreciated by Japan’s people and the authorities as a sign of solidarity at a particularly difficult time.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
Mar 20, 2011 – 14:52
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