Students visit Japan to learn about post-quake efforts


TAIPEI–A group of Taiwanese college students and graduate students traveled to Japan on Sunday, partly to learn more about the country’s reconstruction efforts following a devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011, a Japanese agency said.

The 100 Taiwanese students will attend a speech in Tokyo on the process of post-disaster reconstruction before visiting the Miyagi Prefecture, which was hit hard by the magnitude-9 earthquake on March 11, 2011, Japan’s Interchange Association noted in a recent statement.

During their 14-day trip, the Taiwanese youngsters will also meet with their Japanese counterparts to discuss issues such as the prevention of natural disasters, given that Japan and Taiwan are both earthquake-prone areas, the association said.

The students will live with Japanese host families to learn more about the local culture, it said, adding that they will be separated into four groups to visit the Aichi, Gifu, Kyoto, and Nara prefectures.

The students’ trip is part of a program sponsored by the Japanese government to thank Taiwan for its rescue assistance and donations after the earthquake and ensuing tsunami, said the association, which represents Japanese interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Taiwan had donated some US$260 million in relief and reconstruction aid to Japan, the most of any country in the world.

Under the program, 319 Taiwanese high school and university students and graduate students have been invited to Japan, while a group of 30 Japanese young adults are set to visit Taiwan in March to mark the second anniversary of the March 11 earthquake, the association said.