Over 75% of French Citizens Residing in Japan Have Fled the Country?

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    Liberation.fr has posted an interview with French Ambassador to Japan Philippe Faure, in which the Fukushima nuclear accident and the evacuation of French citizens.

    It contains the following line:

    Vendredi soir, il restait au Japon près de 1 800 Français.

    As of Friday night (March 18th), about 1,800 French people remained in Japan.

    According to Japanese government statistics from 2009, there were about 9,200 French citizens residing in Japan. If only about 1,800 French citizens are remain in Japan, that would mean that over 7,000 have left the country – an astoundingly high number. It looks like a lot of French citizens believed their government’s scary statements about radiation danger.

    Britain’s Daily Mail, which seems to have realized that Japanese people are not fleeing Tokyo in terror, included this passage in a recent article:

    Life is going on as normal.

    I spoke to businessman Yashiko Nakasuma, who shook my hand and said: ‘Thank you, the British, for coming here to tell it as it really is.

    ‘We have been seeing the reports on CNN and hearing what the French have been saying about our country and how the disaster is out of control and that Tokyo is in chaos.

    Hikaru added: ‘There is a lot of anger in Japan against the French. We are not particularly close to that country and their officials have been coming out very publicly and accusing the Japanese of mishandling the power-plant disaster.

    ‘How dare the French attack us when they are always the first to collapse and run away at the first sign of any trouble?’

    Update: The French news article seems to have made a mistake.

    It looks like a big mistake from Liberation.fr.
    I saw this information nowhere else, LeFigaro.fr say that about 2,000 French people remained in Tokyo, and that between 1,000 and 2,000 come back to France.
    AFP say that 977 French people come back to France Thursday and Friday with the first free flights from the French government.

    [hat tip to Daniel Seite and PP]

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