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USF students called home from Japan | People

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USF students called home from Japan
People, Schools

Tampa, Florida -- Six University of South Florida students in an education abroad program in Japan are returning to the United States following a travel warning from the U.S. State Department.

The evacuation of students from a program in Hirakata, in central Japan, was announced by USF President Judy Genshaft Thursday at a university trustees meeting. Travel arrangements are now underway for the students and details on their return to campus are not immediately available.

None of USF’s students have been in danger since Friday’s earthquake and tsunami struck northeast Japan – some 500 miles away from their location - and the deteriorating situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Karen Holbrook, USF’s Senior Vice President for Research, Innovation & Global Affairs, said USF leadership made its decision to bring the students back to the United States as a precaution given the State Department’s warning. Numerous other American universities also are evacuating students.

“The University of South Florida has been closely monitoring the situation in Japan and although our students have not been in harm’s way, the decision has been made to bring them home,” Holbrook said.

“Following the U.S. State Department warning, the evacuation is the most prudent and sensible course of action and adheres to USF’s longstanding principle that nothing is more important than our students’ safety. Our students are disappointed to be leaving Japan and we are making every effort possible to allow them to continue their Japanese language studies once they return to campus.”

Since the March 11disaster began, the students have been in communication with the university. Their accounts of daily life in Japan since Friday can be found at USF News.

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