* French minister says Japan lost "essential of control"
* Urges citizens to leave Tokyo, provides plane
* Govt says there is no evacuation of French citizens
(Adds details, changes dateline, previous Tokyo)
PARIS, March 16 (Reuters) - The French government said on
Wednesday that Japan was losing control of the situation at the
Fukushima nuclear power plant and urged its nationals in Tokyo
to leave the country or head to southern Japan.
The government has asked national carrier Air France
to increase capacity on its flights between Tokyo and
Paris to accommodate any additional demand from French citizens
wanting to leave the Japanese capital.
Industry Minister Eric Besson said the situation at the
Fukushima plant, some 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo,
appeared to be getting out of control.
"Let's not beat about the bush. They have visibly lost the
essential of control (of the situation). That is our analysis,
in any case, it's not what they are saying," Besson told BFM
Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet branded the
situation in Japan a "catastrophe" and said the latest
information on Wednesday "does not lead to optimism".
"We recommend that all French citizens who do not have a
good reason to stay in Tokyo either take a plane or, if they
absolutely insist on staying, head south," Kosciusko-Morizet
said. She noted there was no official evacuation order.
A government plane returning from taking French rescue
workers to Japan was due to arrive on Wednesday at Paris's
Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport carrying 300 French citizens --
mainly priority cases such as children and pregnant women.
Air France has increased the number of seats available on
its Paris-Toyko route to 944 a day, from 871 normally, by using
two Boeing 777 planes from Tuesday until Sunday.
"It seems that corresponds to the demand," Kosciusko-Morizet
Prime Minister Francois Fillon has said that only around
2,000 French citizens remain in the Tokyo area, down from 5,000
normally. Some 600 French people were believed to be in the
Sendai region, the worst hit by Friday's earthquake and tsunami.
(Reporting by Daniel Flynn and Laure Bretton, editing by Tim
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