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Japanese Professor Recounts Post-Earthquake Life


Japanese Professor Recounts Post-Earthquake Life

Kazuko Suematsu, an associate professor at Tohoku University, also thanks UC Riverside community for its support

(August 15, 2011)

Kazuko Suematsu, an associate professor at Tohoku University, spoke at UC Riverside on Monday.Enlarge

Kazuko Suematsu, an associate professor at Tohoku University, spoke at UC Riverside on Monday.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) -- A professor from a city in Japan devastated by the March earthquake and tsunami came to the University of California, Riverside on Monday to thank the campus community for its support and talk about the aftermath of the disaster.

Kazuko Suematsu, an associate professor at the Graduate School of Economics and Management at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, spoke to about 50 people, including Riverside Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge, at UC Riverside’s International Education Center.

Sendai and Riverside have been sister cities since 1957 and UC Riverside began a research collaboration with Tohoku University in 2007.

Following the earthquake and tsunami, hundreds of people on the UC Riverside campus signed a giant banner and wrote notes of encouragement to those in Japan. They also donated $4,700. In May, that money and the banner reached Sendai.

On Monday, Suematsu said the banner has been placed inside the headquarters of Tohoku University.

“I don’t know if we can thank you enough for all the support you have provided,” Suematsu said.

She spent much of the rest of her time talking about the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami and showing pictures of the damage.

At Tohoku University, which was founded in 1907 and has about 18,000 students, two undergraduate students and one prospective student died as a result of the disaster. Also, 14 were injured.

In addition, 526 student residencies were completely or partially destroyed and 28 buildings are considered dangerous and can’t be entered. In total, it’s estimated it will cost $772 million to restore damaged buildings.

Following the earthquake and tsunami, faculty and students got involved in disaster relief in many ways, Suematsu said.

Faculty created a radiation monitoring web site in which they posted daily updates on radiation levels in water, vegetables and fish. Many students volunteered in affected areas.

Also, many faculty members - ranging from those in economics to agriculture to engineering - are now engaged in disaster-related research. The university also created the Institute for Disaster Reconstruction and Regeneration Research to oversee the research, she said.
On right, Kazuko Suematsu, an associate professor at Tohoku University, at the university with the banner signed by the members of the UC Riverside community.Enlarge

On right, Kazuko Suematsu, an associate professor at Tohoku University, at the university with the banner signed by the members of the UC Riverside community.

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