Temple students on way home from Japan

Among those affected by the March 11 earthquake were more than 300 American students at Temple University Japan Campus in Tokyo.

About 190 of those students have left Japan since the quake. The majority left on their own, but about 30 left on a flight Sunday chartered by TUJ in response to a State Department warning last week. U.S. citizens were urged to leave Japan because of the deteriorating situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, 150 miles northeast of Tokyo.

“There were many students who were eager to leave, of course — but there were others who were just as eager to stay,” said Hillel Hoffmann, assistant director of university communications for Temple. “Our primary concern is the safety of our students.”

The March 20 charter flew to Hong Kong escorted by one faculty member, who has since returned to Tokyo. From Hong Kong, the students connected to flights home.

Despite these departures, “The campus is open and staffed,” Hoffmann emphasized. “Bruce Stronach, the dean, is staying.” Hoffmann was unaware of any faculty or staff leaving.

Some of the TUJ students remaining in Japan are in Tokyo; others have traveled elsewhere in the country until classes resume on March 28. Most of the facilities of the university are still open.

Undergraduate study-abroad programs have been canceled in Japan for spring semester, though TUJ will make sure all students have the opportunity to complete the academic portion elsewhere. TUJ is a full-fledged university with more than 3,000 students. Founded in 1982, it was the first foreign university to be officially recognized by the Japanese government.

Follow Judy Weightman on Twitter at @JudyWEdu.

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