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University suspends program

Observer Staff Report | Monday, March 28, 2011

Notre Dame suspended the remainder of its international program in Nagoya, Japan, in the wake of the country’s March 11 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis, the University announced Friday in a press release.

The Office of International Studies informed the two Notre Dame students participating in the Japanese study abroad program of the decision in a letter last week. The letter said the decision to cancel the program was “very difficult,” but the suspension was necessary “due to the deteriorating environmental conditions around Tokyo and ongoing uncertainty about the stability of the nuclear power plant.”

The program administrators said they regretted the necessity of interrupting the students’ semester abroad, but that “safety and well-being are our top priorities,” according to the press release.

The Nagoya program operates in conjunction with the Center for Japanese Studies at Nanzan University, located roughly 250 miles southwest of Sendai, the coastal city nearest to the earthquake’s epicenter and the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima.

The Notre Dame Alumni Association announced that a Mass for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami will be celebrated at 5:15 p.m. today in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. University president Fr. John Jenkins will preside and deliver the homily at the Mass, and the association will take a special collection for aid efforts in Japan by Catholic Relief Services.

The University announced it canceled its other Japanese program, based in Tokyo, for the remainder of the spring semester on March 18.