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Norwich woman escapes Japan disaster zone

07:53 18 March 2011

Emma Self from Sprowston, who luckily escaped the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 - submitted March 2011

Emma Self from Sprowston, who luckily escaped the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 - submitted March 2011


A Norwich woman caught up in the Japanese earthquake will be arriving home tomorrow morning.


Emma Self, 23, from Salhouse Road, will be greeted at the arrival gates of Heathrow Airport by her anxious parents Richard and Lesley Self. Miss Self is flying home from Japan after the University of Central Lancashire, which arranged her foreign exchange, decided to call back all of its students from the disaster-hit country.

She had been staying in Tokyo and was on a train from the capital city to Hiroshima when the 8.9 Richter scale earthquake struck.

Altoguh Miss Self and her Welsh boyfriend Ben Griffin avoided the chaos they feared they they could be caught up in a nuclear catastrophe if large parts of Japan became contaminated from a leak at the badly damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Miss Self’s plane is due to arrive at Heathrow at 5am and her father said she would be sure of warm welcome. Mr Self said: “She will get the biggest hug you can give.”

As Miss Self prepares for her long haul flight home a former University of East Anglia student and Norwich City supporter has said he will not move because of fears over nuclear meltdown at Fukushima. Dominick Okamoto, formerly Haslam, lives in Toyko where he works for Barcap.

Mr Okamoto, who has a partner Aki and sons Louis and Leo, had considered moving his family to Okinawa because of fears of a radiation cloud reaching Tokyo if a disaster happens at Fukushima.

The Japanese government has imposed a 20-mile exclusion zone around the plant and yesterday officials said the situation there was critical.

But in a blog Mr Okamoto said: “For now we do not plan to leave – there is no indication that Tokyo is under enough threat to cause harm to us.”

And a former Gorleston man has vowed to stay in Japan. Teacher Richard Spinks, 40, wears a white surgical mask to stop him breathing in any radioactive materials from the nuclear power station. But Mr Spinks, who grew up in Edinburgh Avenue and has lived in Japan for 12 years, will not be leaving his home city of Sakura. The former Great Yarmouth College student lives with his wife Kazumi, 37, in Sakura, 400km from the plant. He said: “We are staying put. Our home is here, but we are a bit worried about it, yes.”

Do you know anyone caught up in the Japanese earthquake or tsunami? Contact the Evening News team on 01603 772443 or email




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