City Of Shawnee Worries About New Radiation Threat In Japanese Sister City

Wednesday, March 16th 2011, 4:52 pm
By: News 9

Adrianna Iwasinski, News 9

SHAWNEE, Oklahoma -- The City of Shawnee has had an exchange program with the city of Nikaho, Japan for the past 21 years, and one of the city's major manufacturing plants is headquartered in Japan.

"No one has had anyone seriously injured or die from the earthquake that we know of, and there has been no major damage to any homes or buildings," said Shana Hibler, a teacher who delegate with the Nikaho student exchange program. "But we are concerned about the new radiation threat facing our friends and colleagues."

In fact, the group of Shawnee students who were just selected to go to Japan this summer may not be going after all.

"We'll just have to watch and see what happens," Hibler said. "We won't send them if it's not safe."

Every year the two cities send students back and forth.

Over at the TDK plant in Shawnee, all eyes are also on Japan. They are the whole reason Shawnee has a partnership with the country.

"I got a phone call early Friday morning about the quake," said Ron Stravlo, President of Shawnee's TDK manufacturing facility. "Two of our plants sustained damage. This has been very emotional for us since we have friends and coworkers over there."

The manufacturing plant makes magnets and other components and produces 40 percent of the magnets used in the auto industry.

TDK's headquarters are in Tokyo.

The President of TDK in Japan has pledged $1.2 million towards relief efforts for the country.

The Salvation Army also has a relief fund established that can be found on their website.

The Nikaho exchange delegation is meeting next week to discuss any relief efforts that may be needed. So far they, have not been asked to provide any help.