Foreign arrivals at Narita airport dive 60% since quake

The number of foreign arrivals at Narita International Airport near Tokyo plunged about 60 percent from a year earlier to some 67,000 between March 11, the date of the massive earthquake, and March 22, officials with the Immigration Bureau said Thursday.

In contrast, non-Japanese who left Japan through the country’s biggest international gateway during the same period jumped about 20,000 to roughly 190,000, they said.

Foreigners’ departures peaked at some 40,000 on March 13, a day after the Japanese authorities expanded the evacuation zone to areas within a 20-kilometer radius from the troubled nuclear power station in Fukushima Prefecture.

Many appear to have left temporarily because some 6,000 applied for permits for reentry into Japan between March 11 and March 22, the officials said.

Both departures by Japanese from Narita and Japanese arrivals at the international airport sank 100,000 from a year earlier to about 200,000 each way.

”Many might have canceled their trips because of the quake although schools let out this time of year,” a bureau official said.