Defying the nuclear threat - a Stevenage man in Tokyo gives his view

A Stevenage man caught up in the nuclear scare in Japan said he is staying put, despite advice from the British Embassy to leave.

Former Archer Road resident Richard Whitehead, now living in Tokyo with his Japanese wife, said he is a “die-hard ex-pat Brit” and refuses to leave the city.

The danger of radiation from the damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima has led many people to flee the capital, and the embassy to issue iodine tablets to British nationals. But the 42-year-old remains upbeat about the situation.

“I just thought your readers would like a new perspective of life here since the earthquake, and to reassure anyone who has friends of relatives still in Tokyo or surrounding areas that life is still not that bad.”

But he said life was far from normal with much of the city deserted.

“The roads and streets are pretty deserted and the only signs of life are the queues for food. “There’s a lot of panic buying. A lot of people are stocking up at home. The petrol situation is getting a bit dire. It’s not real panic. It’s a strange situation. No-one really expected this.

“A lot of the foreigners are leaving. Most international flights are fully booked. The British Embassy are putting on chartered flights to Hong Kong and the UK.

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“We are staying for now. But if it gets worse we will probably move to southern Japan.”

But he added that the information from the government is not clear.

“The Japanese are not very transparent with their information. They don’t really give out much information. Experts are just guessing.”

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