PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (CBS) — Temple University is making plans to evacuate all of its American students in Japan who would like to leave. The university, which has about 325 U.S. students studying at its campus in Tokyo, is chartering a flight that will likely leave Japan early this weekend.
Leaving is entirely voluntary – the Tokyo campus is still scheduled to resume classes on March 28 – but Temple president Ann Weaver Hart released a statement Thursday citing the State Department’s recommendation that all American citizens in Japan consider departing. The State Department is also advising Americans to defer travel to Japan.
Temple says it will work with those students to complete their semester back in the United States.
So far Temple estimates about 115 students have left Japan on their own. Among them is Erik Jacobs, who is back at his parent’s home in Chambersburg, about an hour southwest of Harrisburg.
“It took me six hours to get to the airport [in Tokyo] because the trains weren’t running. I almost missed my flight,” he told Eyewitness News via a Skype interview.
Jacobs said the earthquake and the tsunami did not greatly affect Tokyo, with the exception of power and mass transit outages. He would have stayed in Japan, but said the threat of a nuclear meltdown is too much.
“It was the right decision to make,” he said. “When I got back home and saw my parents, I knew I made the right decision to be home. It just feels good to be back.”
Reported by Ben Simmoneau, CBS 3