- Associated Press - Sunday, March 13, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department on Sunday advised U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to Japan at this time.

The Asian nation, a close American ally, was struck Friday by devastating earthquakes and a deadly tsunami and now is threatened by possible radiation leaks from several nuclear reactors damaged in the natural disaster. Japan’s prime minister said Sunday that his country is facing its worst crisis since the end of World War II.

In a travel alert issued Sunday, the State Department urged all nonessential U.S. government personnel to defer travel to Japan. The department also said Americans should avoid tourism and other unnecessary visits to Japan for now.

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