The Japanese deputy consul general expressed his thanks for U.S. support this week in a “Stand for Japan” event, which officially kicked off campus relief efforts in the wake of last month’s earthquake and tsunami.

Hisashi Nakatomi, from the Japanese consulate in Boston, gave an update on the situation in his homeland and told of the many donations his office has received since the disaster.

“We gratefully appreciate the overwhelming support from people throughout the United States,” said Nakatomi. “The kindness and prayers from people, like you here at Suffolk University, have touched my heart.”

The 9.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Japan on March 11 is the fourth largest earthquake ever measured in the world, and Nakatomi said that 12,100 people had died and about 15,000 people were missing as of April 4.

Hope & gratitude

Tomo Honda, a 1997 Suffolk graduate and a member of the regional assembly in Fukushima, Japan, participated with a video message.

“Hope springs eternal,” said Honda. “With all the national support we are receiving, we will stand again. From a proud Suffolk alumnus, I’m grateful for all your help.”

Students Takako Ohyama, Ezra Pollard, who was in Japan as a study-abroad student when the earthquake hit, and Kei Goshima also spoke.

The Office of Diversity Services sponsored “Stand for Japan,” as part of its Asian-American Heritage Month programming, to raise both awareness and funds for relief efforts. Additional events are scheduled throughout the month of April, with proceeds going to the Red Cross.

“Our office, along with many other Suffolk offices, students, and faculty, has come together to support our Japanese students and the people of Japan,” said Craig Cullinane, associate director, Office of Diversity Services. “As our world becomes increasingly interconnected, it becomes more and more important that our support for each other becomes global.”