SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (WCBS 880) — A New Jersey college professor returned to the classroom after escaping Japan just hours before the earthquake hit.

Shigeru Osuka is an Associate Professor of Asian Studies at Seton Hall University. He learned of the tragedy while on his flight back to the United States.

“The captain announced ‘There’s a big earthquake in Japan’,” Osuka said. “It’s just a matter of timing. It’s beyond my control.”

LISTEN: Peter Haskell reports.

Osuka was at a conference in Tokyo. He said there was a tremendous fear of aftershocks.

“One of my friends told me he is wearing clothes. He is not changing into pajamas, just wearing ordinary clothes at night,” Osuka said.

The professor was conflicted over the circumstances, because of his duties to both his family in Japan and to his students.

“But now here, I am in New Jersey, and I have a responsibility to teaching at my university,” he said.

Fortunately his family was safe, but he said they were very concerned over the damage to nuclear power plants.

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