Noto Mission Becomes Japan SDF’s Longest Quake Response Project

Yomiuri Shimbun fle photo
Self-Defense Forces members arrive in ​​Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Jan. 3.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A mission taken up by Japan’s Self-Defense Forces in response to the Jan. 1 Noto Peninsula earthquake became the SDF’s longest quake response program Sunday, excluding decontamination work related to the 2011 nuclear accident triggered by a massive earthquake.

Sunday marked the 175th day since SDF members were dispatched to areas affected by the New Year’s Day earthquake in central Japan, longer than the mission following the March 2011 major earthquake and tsunami that mainly hit northeastern Japan.

The record-long mission reflects time-consuming work to restore water supply and sewerage systems. The Defense Ministry plans to continue support based on requests from local communities.

The cumulative number of SDF members dispatched to areas affected by the Noto quake has reached some 1.13 million. They searched for missing people, transported goods and provided water supply support.

About 100 Ground SDF members are continuing to support bathing services in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, although the number of dispatched troops has dropped thanks to infrastructure restoration.

Gen. Yoshihide Yoshida, chief of staff at the SDF’s Joint Staff, told a news conference Thursday that the scale of the SDF mission after the Noto quake is smaller than at the time of the March 2011 temblor but there remain areas where only the SDF can offer support. “We will continue to provide careful support to meet the needs” of afflicted people, he pledged.