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Students from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University were in Kyoto, Japan, on Friday when they felt a slight sway of the building they were in.

The 16 students studying abroad for their master’s of business administration program were smart enough to know buildings don’t just sway on their own. It was, in fact, an 8.9-magnitude earthquake near Sendai — more than 500 miles away from Nissha headquarters, a specialty printing company the students were visiting.

“The building didn’t sway enough to bother us; it lasted about a minute,” Ken Snyder, executive dean and chief administrative officer at the business school, wrote in an e-mail. “We stopped the briefing and waited until the swaying stopped. It was the first earthquake that most of our students have ever felt.”

The USU group is OK, and there was no damage reported in Kyoto.

The company was giving the group, which included three USU staff members, a talk about their products, technology and corporate history.

Snyder wrote that initially the group thought it was a “minor, localized” earthquake until they started seeing news reports from Japan’s national news network.

There have been more than 40 aftershocks — the most serious of which was a 6.7 quake near Niigata, Snyder said, referencing the Japanese television report.

A bullet train was temporarily shut down northeast of Odawara due to some track damage, Snyder said. For that reason, the group couldn’t get to Tokyo, he said.



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