University of Kansas requires students studying in Japan to return home

LAWRENCE, Kansas - The University of Kansas is requring its 10 students studying abroad in Japan to return to the United States.

The State Department issued a warning to Americans late Wednesday to avoid travel to Japan and urged United States citizens in the earthquake and tsunami-ravaged country to consider leaving.

The warning comes as worries grow of the deepening nuclear crisis as unpredictable weather and wind conditions risked spreading radioactive contamination in the country following the 9.0 earthquake that spawned the deadly tsunami Friday.

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KU policy does not permit study abroad programs to operate in countries where State Department travel warnings have been issued, the university said in a statement Thursday.

The students have been told to come home and will be assisted by university officials in making their travel arrangements.

When they return, the students, and any accompanying cargo will likely be screened for radiation, as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Thursday that while no harmful levels of radition have been found on any returning individuals, screenings were taking place as "an exercise of caution."

At the time of the earthquake, the University of Missouri had nine students studying abroad, a spokesman there said. Three of them returned home immediately. On Thursday, the school offered students the option to return home and recommended they do so.

Carly Webster, the director of the study abroad program at Kansas State University, said while the office has remained in contact with the two K-State students currently studying in Japan, they have made no recommendation or requirements for them to return home. If they do wish to return, the university will assist them with their travel arrangements.

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