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Originally published March 11, 2011 at 3:26 PM | Page modified March 11, 2011 at 4:17 PM

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UW has confirmed half its students in Japan are safe

Twenty-five University of Washington students are currently studying abroad in Japan, and the university has heard from almost half of them and confirmed they are safe despite the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeastern part of the country.

Seattle Times Olympia bureau

Twenty-five University of Washington students are studying abroad in Japan, and the university has heard from almost half of them and confirmed they are safe following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeastern part of the country.

One student is in Sendai, the city closest to the earthquake's epicenter, and is reportedly safe, said Brent Barker, travel security and information manager for the UW's Office of Global Affairs. Eleven students have so far responded to messages from the university, and all say they are OK.

Seventeen students are in Tokyo, one is in the nearby city of Yokohama, one is in the northern city of Sapporo, and the remaining five are in the southern part of Japan.

Two UW professors located about 200 miles north of Sendai are also reportedly safe.

"We're going to continue to assess the situation for the students, determine which programs to continue and which to go ahead and end and help the student come to the U.S.," Barker said. "Obviously our biggest concern is the student in Sendai."

Seattle University has heard from all five of its students studying in Tokyo, and all are OK, said Gina Lopardo, assistant director of the school's study abroad office.

At Western Washington University, all 11 of its students studying in Japan are safe, said John Thompson, a spokesman for Western.

Joanna Nolasco: 360-236-8266 or jnolasco@seattletimes.com

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