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Japan Earthquake Leaves Many in the IU Community Scrambling

Friday’s earthquake and resulting tsunami off the coast of Japan left many in the Indiana University community scrambling.

As university communications personnel worked to contact Japanese students, volunteer professor Takako Kojima attempted to contact her family in Tokyo. She was able to reach her younger brother in Osaka, but neither of them could contact their parents. So Kojima was forced to turn to the internet for what little information she could find.

“I watched Japanese news and also CNN. I watched the videos. Yeah, it was terrible,” Kojima said.

By early afternoon Eastern time, Kojima had received an e-mail from her mother saying the family was safe.

IU journalism professor Joe Coleman was supposed to be on a plane from Chicago to Tokyo with a group of students, but was forced to delay the trip following the natural disasters. Coleman, who worked for the Associated Press in Japan for 11 years, said he’s been keeping up with colleagues and friends through Facebook.

“This was the big disaster that you always fear. It’s always on your mind as a journalist, that ‘what am I going to do if something like this happens and I’m responsible for reporting on it?’ It’s just ironic that I was there for so many years and nothing like this ever really happened,” said Coleman.

Coleman said he and the students may still try to make an abbreviated trip during next week’s Spring Break.

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