Number of foreigners leaving Japan soars

An immigration official says more than 161,000 foreigners have left Japan since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that triggered an unfolding nuclear crisis .

Taichi Iseki, an immigration official at Japan’s major airport, Narita, said Friday the number of foreigners flying out from March 11 to March 22 totaled 161,300 _ an eightfold increase from about 20,000 in the same period last year.

The quake and giant tsunami decimated much of northeast Japan, while the crisis at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima, one of the quake-hit areas, triggered a massive exodus of foreigners.

The number of foreigners arriving at Narita from March 11 to 22 plunged 60 percent year-on-year to 33,400.

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