Elementary and high school students from Miyagi Prefecture were given a special send off at Japan’s Narita Airport yesterday afternoon as they set off for the U.S. in order to convey messages of thanks for the efforts of those involved in relief operations following the 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami in Northeast Japan.

The eight students from Kesennuma — a town severely damaged by the tsunami that ravaged the northeast coast of Japan two years ago — will visit schools and both military and naval bases in San Diego as well as take part in homestay programmes that it is hoped will further strengthen relations between the two countries. While on the west coast, the students will convey messages of gratitude to those who were involved in Operation Tomodachi, a relief effort  in which more than 24,000 U.S. service members assisted in the search and rescue of survivors as well as the clean-up and provision of aid following the disaster.

TV crews and lines of photographers saw the youngsters off, with a special ceremony also taking place in which the kids were reminded of their roles as ambassadors of the country. We’re such our friends in America will take very good care of them during their stay.

Source: TV Asashi