Also in Japan, foreign nationals are flocking to airports, trying to get out of the country as soon as possible. Several countries have issued travel advisories as concerns mount over the nuclear emergency.
Airlines scrambled on Thursday to fly thousands of passengers out of Tokyo. Fears about Japan's nuclear crisis are mounting and several countries are urging their citizens to leave.
The U.S. State Department says the government has chartered aircraft to help Americans leave Japan and had authorized the voluntary departure of family members of diplomatic staff in Tokyo, Nagoya and Yokohama -- about 600 people.
Barbara Turoff is a retired American leaving Japan.
[Barbara Turoff, Leaving Japan]:
"I was going to go back anyway, just for a vacation, but I'm leaving earlier because I'm concerned because I really don't know the situation about the radiation. It keeps changing."
The U.S. travel advisory comes after Australia urged its citizens with non-essential roles in Japan to consider leaving Tokyo and the eight prefectures most damaged.
France has also advised its citizens in Japan to get out or head to southern Japan. The French Embassy in Tokyo said it had asked Air France to prepare planes for the evacuation of French nationals.
Scores of flights to Japan were halted or rerouted this week on fears of radiation leaks from the stricken nuclear plant.
Japan is taking desperate measures to contain the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant crippled by the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeast on Friday.