U.S. Forces Transport Quake Aid Supplies

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Self-Defense Forces personnel and others unload relief supplies from a helicopter belonging to U.S. forces stationed in Japan at Noto Airport on Wednesday.

WAJIA, Ishikawa (Jiji Press) — U.S. Forces Japan transported relief supplies by helicopter Wednesday to support people affected by the powerful earthquake that hit the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture on Jan. 1.

A U.S. military helicopter flew twice on the day between the Self-Defense Forces’ Komatsu air base in the Ishikawa city of Komatsu and Noto Airport in Wajima, another city in the prefecture.

SDF members received boxes of supplies at the airport. The items will be delivered to evacuation shelters.

In 2011, the U.S. military undertook Operation Tomodachi relief activities to help Japan in response to the March 11 massive quake and tsunami that hit the Tohoku region. It also transported relief supplies using Osprey aircraft at the time of the 2016 quake disaster in Kumamoto Prefecture.

“It’s very encouraging that U.S. Forces Japan are helping the transportation of relief supplies,” Defense Minister Minoru Kihara told reporters during his visit to Noto Airport to cheer up SDF members. “A friend in need is a friend indeed. I feel that this is a second Operation Tomodachi.”

A U.S. serviceman who participated in Operation Tomodachi told the press at the Komatsu base that he is very lucky to be able again to be part of support when Japan is in a difficult situation and that he prays for recovery.

Also on Wednesday, volunteer activities started in the Ishikawa capital of Kanazawa to help people affected by the Jan. 1 quake. Some volunteers engaged in cleaning work at a shelter set up in a sports center where evacuees are staying until they move to accommodations such as hotels.