Tohoku University

Future Global Leadership Program

Degree Courses Taught in English

20th Sun 17:25:46 UTC    21st Mon 02:25:46 Asia/Tokyo


The Great East Japan Earthquake's Lesson on International Cooperation
International Student Networks and University Risk Management

On December 15 (Sat.), 2012, Tohoku University held an international symposium, titled "The Great East Japan Earthquake's Lesson on International Cooperation: International Student Networks and University Risk Management" in Hall 206 of the Multimedia Education and Research Complex on Kawauchi North Campus. Emiko Okuyama, the mayor of Sendai City, and Susumu Satomi, president of Tohoku University, delivered the keynote speeches. Next, reconstruction activities by National Cheng Kung University (Taiwan), the Tokyo Office of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Australian Embassy, and Riverside City in California, were presented along with ideas for improving support/risk management systems for international students. Finally, all the presenters participated in a panel discussion and questions/answers session, resulting in a lively discussion between the panelists and audience. This symposium, held in the spirit of gratitude for the international aid Japan received following the Great East Japan Earthquake, enabled the audience to learn many things about the place of international support in times of natural disaster. With regards to support for international students, many topics were raised, including the method of conveying and content of information, and the importance of support, including psychological support. This symposium provided an opportunity for deeper consideration of these issues, and will be useful in construction future systems. (This information also appeared in the December 16 (Sun.) edition of Kahoku Shinpo.)

Result of the Survey of Tohoku University International Students
Japanese (2.25MB) English (2.91MB) Chinese (2.62MB)


Hosted by: Institute for International Education and Global 30 Promotion Center, Tohoku University
Supported by: Project for Establishing University Network for Internationalization (Global 30), MEXT


On March 11, 2011 a massive earthquake and tsunamis, followed soon after by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, occurred in Eastern Japan. These events greatly disrupted the studies, research, and daily lives of Japan's international students. This catastrophe, and the way in which Japan united to cope with it, were picked up and widely reported in mass-media outlets around the world. In response, many foreign universities, research institutes, and central and regional governments, offered their support, primarily in the form of economic aid. However, up until now information on the support activities of these international partners has been covered by the media only in bits and pieces.

This unprecedented disaster taught us many lessons regarding international student support and the maintenance/enhancement of cooperation between international partners. For instance, what sort of risk management systems did the universities in the affected areas have in place during the disaster and recovery phase? How were these systems evaluated by the international students? What sort of risk management system must a university possess in order to be resilient and reliable in times of crisis?

For this symposium, we will invite speakers from foreign universities, research institutes, and government organizations who extended their generous support to the affected universities, and reflect on their contributions to the recovery from various perspectives. We will then hold a vigorous discussion regarding future international student support and risk management based on the results of a survey of international students, conducted jointly by three universities in the Tohoku region, regarding international cooperation surrounding the support network for international students and handling of risk management.


  1. Date: 10:30am-4:30pm, Saturday, December 15th, 2012
  2. Venue: M206 Hall, Multimedia Complex Building, Kawauchi Campus, Tohoku University
  3. Participants: Faculty and administrative staff members from Tohoku University, other universities of North Japan University Network, Global 30 network and other universities and institutes who have interests in this topic, all those who have interests in this topic.
  4. Registration: Please register by providing the following information by e-mail (
    1. Your name
    2. Name of your university or institution
    3. Your department/job title
    4. Your e-mail address
    5. Whether you wish to participate in the reception or not
  5. Reception
    Date: December 15 (Sat)
    Time: 17:00-19:00 (after the symposium)
    Place: Tohoku University Kawauchi Cafeteria "Kitchen Terrace Couleur"
    Please click here (Japanese only) about "Kitchen Terrace Couleur")
    Fee: 3000 yen / person
  6. Speakers
    1. Prof. Cheng-Hung Huang, Director of International Office in College of Management, Professor in Department of Transportation and Communication Management Science, National Cehng Kung University, Taiwan
    2. Dr. Holger Finken, Resident Director, DAAD Office Tokyo
    3. Mr Lalit Acharya, Director, International Relations, Mayor’s Office, Riverside
    4. Ms Kumiko Tsukamoto, Senior Education Manager, Australian Education International, Australian Embassy in Tokyo
    5. Mr William McMichael, Assistant Director, International Center, Fukushima University
    6. Dr. Natsumi Onaka, Associate Professor, International Center, Iwate University
    7. Dr. Kazuko Suematsu, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Economics and Management, Tohoku University


Time Description
10:30-10:35 (5 min) Greetings from the President of Tohoku University
10:35-10:40 (5 min) Greetings from the Guest Speaker: Mayor of Sendai
10:40-10:55 (15 min) Recovery from the Great Northeast Earthquake at Tohoku University: Executive Vice President
10:55-11:15 (20 min) Speech 1: Institutional Support for the Reconstruction of Universities in Japan
11:15-11:35 (20 min) Speech 2: Institutional Support for the Reconstruction of Universities in Japan
11:35-11:55 (20 min) Speech 3: Institutional Support for the Reconstruction of Universities in Japan
11:55-12:15 (20min) Speech 4: Institutional Support for the Reconstruction of Universities in Japan
12:15-13:30 (75 min) Lunch Break
13:30-14:00 (30 min) Report 1: Risk Management for International Students in Fukushima University: William McMichael
14:00-14:30 (30 min) Report 2: Risk Management for International Students in Iwate University: Natsumi Onaka
14:30-15:00 (30 min)Report 3:Risk Management for International Students in Tohoku University: Kazuko Suematsu
15:00-15:15 (15 min) Break
15:15-16:15 (60 min) Panel Discussion
16:15-16:25 (10 min) Wrap-up
16:25-16:30 (5 min) Closing Remarks
17:00- Reception (Kawauchi Campus)

Note: Simultaneous translation (English / Japanese) will be available in M206.


Specially Appointed Assoc. Professor
Institute for International Education, Tohoku University
Phone: 022-795-3243 Fax: 022-795-7826

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