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Iodine pills being given to Japan-bound travelers

Iodine pills are being given to all travelers going from Thailand to Japan, the Thai Health Ministry says.

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Iodine pills are being handed out to all passengers flying to Japan at Thai airports such as the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand.

Andy Nelson/The Christian Science Monitor/File

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Thai authorities say they will distribute medicine to citizens traveling to Japan to protect against radiation from damaged nuclear power plants.

The Health Ministry says that beginning Thursday, potassium iodide tablets will be given free to travelers flying to Tokyo from airports in Bangkok and Phuket.

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The government already warns against unnecessary travel to Japan.

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Potassium iodide is taken to help block absorption of radioactive iodine. Supplies in Japan have become short, and panic buying has been reported as far away as North America.

The government's National News Bureau says more than 70 percent of package tour bookings to Japan for March to May have been canceled.