Number of foreigners leaving Japan soars 8-fold

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.