Oak Ridgers worry about Japanese friends in sister city

Oak Ridgers worry about Japanese friends in sister city


6 News Anchor/Reporter

OAK RIDGE (WATE) - Oak Ridgers have many friends now in Japan, 65 years after the atomic bombs made here were dropped there to end the second world war.

"You just start thinking about your friends and hope they're okay," said Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan.

"We have a very special relationship with the city of Nakamachi," Beehan said. "There's a research center there similar to Oak Ridge National Laboratory."

The two atomic communities have officially been sister cities for 20 years.

"We've been trying to email them and contact them. We have not heard anything back," Beehan said.

He was just there over the summer.

"My wife and I slept on the floor of the mayor's house in Nakamachi because that's what you do. You have those relationships. They came to visit us in October," Beehan said. 

And each year, 10 Oak Ridge middle schoolers do a home-stay exchange program with Japanese kids their own age.

The Oak Ridge students headed to Japan this July have already bought their plane tickets and started taking Japanese lessons.

They hope they will still be able to travel in the wake of the disaster.

"This is pretty massive when you watch it on television. It kind of puts that lump in your throat. I hope they're okay," Beehan said.

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