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Schoolchildren From Japan's Tsunami Zone Get Respite In Northwest

Tom Banse


Eight junior high students and their teachers from the Japanese tsunami zone arrive in Seattle Thursday. It's an unusual disaster relief effort. The schoolchildren are being treated to a free trip to escape the still difficult conditions at home, at least temporarily.

Bellevue, Washington-based web and email hosting firm PSP, Inc. donated to Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief last year, like other Pacific Northwest companies did.

But company CEO Mayumi Nakamura wanted to do more to help victims recover. So her firm is paying for eight students and two teachers to come to the Pacific Northwest for two weeks.

Nakamura says the selected students all lost at least one -- if not both -- parents during last year's tsunami.

"The goal and the purpose is so that we can provide them some time to forget," Nakamura says. "They're still recovering in Japan and the Miyagi area. Quite a few of them live in the shelters still."

Nakamura says other Northwest companies are pitching in. To name a few, the Seattle Mariners donated tickets to a ballgame. Holland America offered a tour of one of its big cruise ships and Microsoft offered lunch with its Xbox video game development team.

On the Web:

PSP, Inc. "Tohoku Summer Experience"