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One story of hope as Japanese student sees family on YouTube

by Jorge Hernandez on March 16, 2011

More than 50 percent of the population is missing in the small fishing village of Minami Sanriku, but 20-year-old Akiko Kosaka's family seems to be among the lucky ones who have survived the massive Japanese earthquake that struck last Friday, according to CNN.

Kosaka – who is currently studying in California – had not heard from her family for three days following the March 11 quake and tsunamis. However, on Sunday night, she received news from a Japanese friend that a 45-second video existed on YouTube showing her family still alive.

In the video footage, Kosaka's family house – located on high ground about five minutes away from the ocean – is the only one left visibly standing.

"I screamed, and my host parents woke up and they thought it was really bad. They asked what happened. And I said, 'They survived!'" Kosaka told the news source.

Kosaka's older sister, Shoko, 24, is seen in the video holding a sign that says "we are all safe," in Japanese.

Kosaka's younger sister, Yukako, 13, is also believed to be safe. Kosaka is concerned for the well-being of her elderly grandparents, who are both above the age of 80 and live with the family.

Kosaka's parents run a pharmacy in Minami Sanriku.

According to CNN, one reason why Kosaka's family house may have been left standing is because it was built more recently – about five years ago – compared to the other older neighborhood homes.

Japan is still experiencing aftershocks and smaller earthquakes as of Wednesday morning, March 16. A 5.3-magnitude earthquake was felt at about 9:51 a.m. in Tokyo, according to the New York Times.

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