A San Diego man who claimed to be trapped near Japan's troubled nuclear reactors is pleading with the U.S. government to help him escape.
Michael Eckstein, 59, said he phoned the U.S. Embassy at least five times, but to no avail.
"The mood here is surreal," said Eckstein, who is staying at a friend's apartment in the Nagano prefecture of Japan. "People here are in a state of surreality. They're in disbelief. They're in shock. They are -- not to use the expression lightly -- they are in a spiritual meltdown."
"The people of Japan are one of the greatest countries of people that have resolve," he added.
Eckstein also claimed the Japanese government has been suppressing information about the current nuclear situation.
"It's time to break the door," Eckstein told California TV station KESQ in a Skype interview. "The American people want to help, but the Japanese government will not allow the personnel with helicopters and necessary coolant to extinguish this fire that is about to affect a country of 250 million people."
Although Eckstein was initially unable to contact his daughter, who is a student at the University of Hiroshima, he later learned that both she and his Japanese wife were safe.
Meanwhile, Rep. Mary-Bono-Mack, R-Calif., has filed an inquiry with the U.S. State Department on Eckstein's behalf.