SOAS University of London

Letter from Sendai: A SOAS Alumnus Reflects on the Japan Earthquake

20 May 2011
Luke Happle in Sendai

SOAS alumnus Luke Happle (BA Japanese, 2009) was in Sendai, the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture in Japan, when the 11 March earthquake struck.

Luke lives and works in Sendai. He is a coordinator for international relations and prefectural advisor for the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, which promotes foreign language education and international exchange activities between Japan and other countries around the world.

He has written a gripping account of his experiences on 11 March and in the days and weeks that followed as Japan struggles to recover from the earthquake and tsunami. We have reproduced his Letter from Sendai in its entirety.

After the Shock: A Roundtable Discussion

18 April 2011
The Japan Research Centre will host a roundtable discussion on the challenges facing northeast Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake. The event is being held in collaboration with the Japan Society

After the Shock: Prospects for Recovery and Reconstruction in Post-Quake Japan will be held at SOAS' Khalili Lecture Theatre on 16 May, starting at 6:45 pm. 

The discussion will be moderated by Dr Christopher Gerteis, Lecturer in the History of Contemporary Japan. Details are on the Japan Research Centre's web page. The event is free and open to the public. 


Support for Those Affected by the Japan Earthquake

Updated: 21 March 2011
The SOAS community is profoundly shocked and saddened by the events currently unfolding in Japan.  

Our thoughts and sympathies are with our friends and colleagues who have been affected by the earthquake and tsunami that struck the Tōhoku region on 11 March 2011. 

The School has joined the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, an effort being organised by Japanese students in London to channel funds to the Japanese Red Cross.  Individual donations can be made through its website.  Financial contributions to the relief efforts can also be made directly via the British Red Cross.  

Other organizations will be focusing their efforts on community building work in the long term, after the immediate emergency.  They include: Civic Force (donations to which can be made through Charity Platform--website in Japanese); and JEN. The Japan Society will be supporting NPO Centres in the affected prefectures.


Year-Abroad Students in Japan

Updated: 21 March 2011
SOAS has 55 students currently studying in Japan. All are accounted for and none is injured.

The School's Japanese partner institutions expect to continue to teach as normal, and many of them are in locations that have not been physically affected by the crisis.

However, the School has written to its students to give them the option of leaving their programme and returning to SOAS, where an alternative programme of study would be put in place for them.

For those who choose this option, the School will provide financial assistance for unavoidable additional travel costs, and it will provide assistance in finding accommodation in London. Students wishing to leave their programme in Japan need to let the School know by 30 April. (Please note: This is a later date than previously announced.)

The School is closely monitoring reports on the situation in Japan, including the travel advisories issued by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). If the FCO raises its assessment of the risks, the School will update its advice to students.

For further information, contact:

Johannah Flaherty 
Communications Manager
Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4956

William Friar
Communications Officer
Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4135