INTO's regional office staff in Japan, Yoshiro Otsuka and Masaki
Tani, are both ok, but suffering from the power outages and general
disruption that the earthquake and tsunami have left in their
Naturally the disaster has affected INTO's Japanese student
population, most of whom have family and friends back in Japan, and
in the last few days UK and US centres have been working hard to
offer support. All centres are helping Japanese students to get in
touch with their families and counselling is being offered to
anyone that requires it. Some centres are working in conjunction
with host university student support services to offer advice.
Robin Nesbitt, Head of Student Services at INTO Queen's, said:
"We have been in touch with all our Japanese students via Facebook,
email or phone and facilitated some of them talking to family via
Skype in centre. Our new Accommodation and Welfare Officer speaks
Japanese so this has been really helpful to in supporting
He added: "They have all been offered support from the
University counselling service and from the University
International Student support team also. Thankfully all their
families and friends are safe. There are a few ideas running around
for fundraising including a karaoke night at the students union and
Christina Guiney, INTO Queen's Marketing and Communications
Coordinator, said: "I've put lots of posts up on INTO Queen's
Facebook page asking parents and friends to feel free to get in
touch with us to let our students know they were ok. Phone lines in
Japan were down and internet was only way of contact, so I said we
would pass on messages..."To raise awareness of the deepening
crisis students have also rallied round, posting their good wishes
on Facebook and trying to raise funds for the relief effort.
"Hope all the Japanese students' families and friends are safe
and well," said INTO Newcastle University student Anisha Misra on
the Centre's Facebook page, reflecting the sombre mood of all
At INTO UEA, Japanese Foundation Student Takatoshi Sugihara
wrote an impassioned email to all students and staff to help raise
funds. It read: "No matter who you are, No matter where you are
from, No matter which religion you believe in, We Japanese people
need your help!!!"
Other students have gathered in the lobby of the INTO UEA centre
to make origami peace cranes. Organiser of the event, Chika
Urakawa, said: "We started yesterday and have kept going, now many
people know of this action, but it is important that we keep going
and working toward relief effort, donations and helping Japanese
She added that the response from students had been positive.
"They donate - sometimes very much, sometimes a little, but
anything is very good, it encourages us."
By this morning the students had already raised £1194.81, and
they will be continuing their fundraising efforts in the coming
Our thoughts are with Japanese students and staff across the
network. If you would like to donate to the relief effort, please
visit the Red Cross site.