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The Armed Forces Blood Bank Center on Okinawa is conducting blood drives in mainland Japan this month and next for the first time in 18 months.

“There is a bigger need because we’re supporting the ongoing war effort, and we’re still feeling the effect of tsunami relief,” said Capt. Jerome Vinluan, the center’s deputy director. The USNS Mercy, though now on its way back to San Diego, used a lot of blood from the center while assisting tsunami victims in the region, he said.

Blood bank teams will be at mainland Japan bases on the following dates:

Yokota Air Base — July 19, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Yujo Community Center.Yokosuka Naval Base — July 21, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Naval Hospital Yokosuka.Naval Air Facility Atsugi — July 26, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., location to be announced.Naval Air Facility Misawa — Aug. 9, time and location to be determined.Blood drives were held at Sasebo Naval Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni on Tuesday.

Teams will also return to Guam in August, though dates aren’t finalized, Vinluan said. The center will conduct a blood drive in South Korea in September, but those dates aren’t set yet either, he said.

Call 643-7710 for more information, including blood donor requirements.

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