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Japanese relieved, exhausted after leaving Wuhan

Wearing surgical masks, Takeo Aoyama, center left, an employee at Nippon Steel Corp.'s subsidiary in Wuhan, China, and Takayuki Kato, center right, an employee at an information and communications technology company Intec, speak to journalists after returning home on a Japanese chartered plane, at Haneda international airport in Tokyo, on Jan. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Haruka Nuga)

BEIJING (AP) -- Two Japanese men evacuated from a virus-hit Chinese city say they felt relieved but also exhausted upon their arrival in Tokyo.

They were aboard a chartered flight Japan arranged to evacuate 206 Japanese citizens from Wuhan.

Takeo Aoyama who works for Nippon Steel Corp. and Takayuki Kato, who works for Intec, both wore masks but said they felt fine.

Kato said he was not panicking in Wuhan, but "I was shocked when all transportation systems were suspended. That's when the situation drastically changed."

China cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities to try to contain the outbreak of the new type of coronavirus that has infected thousands of people.

Aoyama said many people who wish to go home to Japan are still in Wuhan, including workers at a Japanese supermarket chain staying open to supply food.

He said it is important to step up preventive measures in Japan, but "I hope we can also provide support for the Chinese people, which I think would also help the Japanese people who are still there."

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