Quake-hit students get U.S. support to study abroad


Five Japanese firms have contributed about ¥320 million to set up a fund for students hit by the earthquake and tsunami disaster in March 2011 and promote Japan-U.S. cultural exchanges, according to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

The Tomodachi Fund for Exchanges, launched as part of a U.S.-led public-private initiative called Tomodachi (Friends), will provide aid to quake-hit high school students seeking to study in the United States and to support bilateral exchanges through music and sports.

Toyota Motor Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., Hitachi Ltd., Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. contributed to the fund.

“I am sincerely grateful that I am now alive with a dream” to pursue, said 18-year-old Ayaka Ogawa at a launch ceremony held at U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos’ residence in Japan. She said she lost her parents, elder sister and grandparents in the tsunami.

Ogawa, from Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, one of the areas most severely hit by the March disaster, will receive support from the initiative to study in the United States from June. “I want to believe in my potential and contribute to the world in the future,” Ogawa said.