Up to the minute ...

Read previous postings here.

Stars and Stripes reporters across Japan and the world are sending disaster dispatches as they gather new facts, updated in real time. All times are local Tokyo time.  Japan is 13 hours ahead of the East Coast. So for example, 8 a.m. EDT is 9 p.m. in Japan.

For extended coverage, see the Earthquake Disaster in Japan page here.


No base-wide outage Sunday at Yokota


   11:15 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

YOKOTA AIR BASE Japan -- There will be no base wide power outages on Sunday, according to the latest update from the base public affairs office.

-- Dave Ornauer

No increase in Yokota radiation levels

   11 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

Latest advisory from Yokota’s Facebook page says base officials there just checked with emergency managers and they have confirmed that the radiation levels at Yokota remain at the same background levels we experience every day (even prior to the quake).

"To ensure everyone's safety, we are scanning air samples repeatedly every day, we're checking the water daily and we are inspecting aircraft ... and vehicles as they arrive," the Facebook page says.

-- Dave Ornauer

The latest on Navy support to Japan

   10:20 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

U.S. 7th Fleet has 12,750 personnel, 20 ships, and 140 aircraft participating in Operation Tomodachi. Seventh Fleet forces have delivered 81 tons of relief supplies to date.

USS Tortuga is in the vicinity of Hachinohe where she will serve as an afloat forward service base for helicopter operations. CH-53 Sea Stallion aircraft from attached to Tortuga delivered 13 tons of humanitarian aid cargo on Friday, including 5,000 pounds of water and 5,000 MREs, to Yamada Station, 80 miles south of Misawa.

USS Essex, USS Harpers Ferry and USS Germantown with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived off the coast of Akita prefecture Saturday. Marines of the 31st MEU have established a Forward Control Element in Matsushima to coordinate disaster aid planning with officials. They are scheduled to move to Sendai later Saturday.

The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, to include the cruiser USS Chancellorsville, the destroyer USS Preble and the combat support ship USNS Bridge, the guided-missile destroyers USS Fitzgerald, USS John S. McCain, USS McCampbell, USS Mustin and USS Curtis Wilbur continue relief operations off the east coast of Iwate prefecture. Three U.S. Navy liaison officers are on JS Hyuga to coordinate U.S. operations with Japan Maritime Self Defense force leadership.

Helicopters from HS-4 and HSL-43 with the Reagan strike group, and HSL-51 from Carrier Airwing Five (CVW-5) in Atsugi, on the 18th delivered 28 tons of food, water, clothes, medicine, toiletries, baby supplies, and much needed kerosene to displaced persons at fifteen relief sites ashore. For two of the relief sites serviced, it was the first humanitarian aid they have received since the tsunami a week ago. Eight of the sites serviced made requests for specific aid, including a need for a medical professional.

CVW-5 on Friday completed the relocation of 14 helos normally assigned to USS George Washington from Atsugi to Misawa Air Base in northern Honshu.

USS Cowpens continued its northerly track to rendezvous with the Reagan Carrier Strike Group. Cowpens is expected to join the Strike Group overnight. USS Shiloh is en route from Yokosuka to deliver relief supplies to the Strike Group.

USS Blue Ridge, the flagship for the U.S. 7th Fleet, remains in the vicinity of Okinawa to conduct transfers of supplies and additional personnel to augment the staff.

All 7th Fleet ships, including George Washington and USS Lassen which are currently conducting maintenance in Yokosuka, are preparing to go. Personnel have been recalled and leaves canceled.

Two P-3 Orion aircraft from Patrol Squadron Four conducted two aerial survey missions over ports and airfields in northern Honshu on Saturday. CTF-72 has embarked two liaison officers from Japan Maritime Self Defense Force on each mission. Aerial imagery captured on these missions is shared with Japan. VP-4 has established a detachment in Misawa with two aircraft and four aircrews.

Radioactive iodine found in Tokyo drinking water

10:07 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

From the Associated Press:

TOKYO — Japan officials say radioactive iodine detected in drinking water for Tokyo and other areas.

-- Patrick Dickson

A valuable resource on your entitlements during evacuations

   8:35 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

From NAF Atsugi's Facebook page:

The "Handbook on Pay and Leave Benefits for Federal Employees Affected by Severe Weather Conditions or Other Emergency Situations" has useful information for civilians. The link for this Office of Personnel Management (OPM) handbook is: http://www.opm.gov/oca/compmemo/2008/HandbookForEmergencies(PayAndLeave).pdf.

-- Dave Ornauer

"Voluntary departure" updates at Misawa

   8:41 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

Col. Michael Rothstein, commander of the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa Air Base, Japan, said flights departing Misawa will not stop at any nother military base in the region, as originally planned. They will instead fly straight to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where families will be given tickets to their destination of choice in the continental United States.

Rothstein also said that the program has now been opened to the families of contractor employees. At Misawa, the only people who will be allowed to bring pets are those with deployed spouses, or spouses who are due to deploy in 30 days.

--T.D. Flack

More buses headed from Yokosuka to Narita

   8:13 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

From Fleet Activities Yokosuka's Facebook page:

Starting Sunday, Yokosuka Naval Base will increase the number of buses used for the Narita shuttle run in order to support the increased volume of personnel expected to be flying out of Narita. There will also be vehicles available to transport pets. Departure times will still be 10 a.m., 12:30, and 2:30 p.m. from Personnel Support Detachment.

-- Dave Ornauer

Video: Yokosuka commander talks flights

   7:55 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

From Fleet Activities Yokosuka's Facebook page.

Latest video address concerning evacuation status from Captain Owen: http://www.facebook.com/?closeTheater=1#!/video/video.php?v=207619375916525&oid=128522759186&comments

-- Dave Ornauer

New and continually updating guidance on evacuation flights

   5:34 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

From NAF Atsugi's Facebook page. The note at the top says it all:

*** Please bear in mind that what is gospel now may become obsolete 20 minutes later when new guidance is passed. ***

NOTE: The authorities for who is authorized to board an aircraft and fly out on the current Military Assisted Voluntary Departure are NOT the same authorities (i.e. Customs and Border Patrol) that control entry into the United States.

NOTE: ALL TRAVELERS, regardless of status, should carry:

·        their passport,

·         their CAC/DoD ID,

·         PCS orders bringing them to Japan,

·         and, for newborns, proof of birth.

·         Non-U.S. citizen travelers should also bring their country’s passport.

Who is authorized to fly out?

·         Command Sponsored and non-Command Sponsored Dependents of Uniformed and Civilian DoD personnel

o    NOTE: Non-Command Sponsored dependents are only entitled to a round trip flight to the first destination in the United States. These dependents are not entitled to draw per diem or Safe Haven Allowance.

What about girlfriends or significant others?

They are not authorized departure. Only <span>Dependents</span> of Uniformed and Civilian DoD personnel are covered by the current authorization.

What about dependents of our NAFA/CFAY/ZAMA contractors?

·         They will be allowed to board the plane and fly to the States, HOWEVER, as things currently stand, they are NOT entitled to any allowances or even to government-funded air travel out of NAFA.

·         Funding issues should be worked through the contractor’s parent company, and the contractor sponsor should beware that he/she may ultimately be required to reimburse the U.S. Government for the value of the flight.

What about non-DoD American Citizens who aren’t contractors or attached to our bases?

·         These personnel and their dependents should not be flying out of NAFA on the current wave of Military Assisted Voluntary Departures. They should proceed to Narita or Haneda airport or contact the U.S. Department of State and Embassy Japan.

What about dual military families, single parents, etc? Can they travel with their kids?

·         These individuals’ COs or Supervisors should determine whether to allow them to escort their minor dependents to the states or whether to make them execute their family care plan.

·         NOTE: Only <span>Dependents</span> are currently authorized departure, so if these personnel are permitted to depart with their dependents, their parent commands will likely have to generate orders and pick up the tab for any allowances/per diem.

What if I or my children don’t have passports?

·         All travelers should make EVERY effort to have valid travel documents.

·         It is highly likely, although not certain, that Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) will waive passport requirements for U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs).

o    Those without passports should bring all available documentation (e.g., birth certificate, letter of dependency from PSD, copy of sponsor’s CAC, etc.) to prove their DoD dependency.

What if my dependent is a Japanese citizen?

·         They’re fine, but should bring their Japanese passport.

·         There is currently a requirement for Japanese citizen evacuees to register in advance at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/and pay a $14.00 fee. Those departing should make EVERY effort to comply with this requirement. Nevertheless, given the situation at hand, it is likely, although not certain, that CBP may waive this pre-registration requirement

What if my dependent is a citizen of a third country other than Japan?

·         Citizens holding passports from the following 35 countries are treated the same as Japanese citizens and should register as explained immediately above:






Czech Republic

















The Netherlands

New Zealand



San Marino


South Korea






United Kingdom

What if my dependent is a Philippine national or a citizen of a third country not listed above?

·         Per USFJ, “all DoD dependents with travel entitlements are eligible for relocation by the DoD. Allowances are determined by the status of the sponsor and whether the dependents are command sponsored or not.”

·         Nevertheless, we cannot guarantee that dependents in this group will be granted entry into the U.S. There is a chance, but no guarantee, that they may be granted “humanitarian parole” entry to the U.S. by CBP.

o    If they choose, at their own risk, to board the plane, they should bring ample evidence of their marriage/dependency to DoD uniformed or civilian personnel (e.g., marriage/birth certificates, copies of page 2, copy of servicemember’s military ID, certificate of dependency, etc.)

-- Erik Slavin

Atsugi pharmacy hours posted

   7:04 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

From NAF Atsugi's Facebook page:

The Pharmacy will be open Sunday, March 20 from 12-2 p.m.

-- Dave Ornauer

Misawa town hall meeting planned

   6:15 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

Col. Michael Rothstein, 35th Fighter Wing commander, will hold a town hall meeting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the base movie theater. The entire community is invited.

-- T.D. Flack

USFK diverts Patriot Express flights for evacuations

   5:50 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

Patriot Express flights from South Korea were suspended Saturday until further notice so aircraft can assist with ongoing military relief operations in Japan, according to U.S. Forces Korea.

Those with tickets for official travel on Patriot Express flights to and from Korea after March 19th should contact their installation's official travel office immediately to reschedule their travel on commercial carriers, according to a USFK press release issued Saturday afternoon. Patriot Express operates from South Korea on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

"These flights will resume when circumstances allow a resumption of service," the press release stated.

-- Ashley Rowland

Eagle 810 down at Yokota

   5:45 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

From AFN Tokyo's Facebook page:

Yokota: Cable and Internet provider Allied Telesis has lost the Eagle 810 signal to the Yokota Commander's Channel (channel 20) please tune to your
Program Guide (channel 7) for the latest music and information on Yokota Air Base

-- Dave Ornauer

Pets still in question, re: evac flights

   5:34 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

If evacuations become mandatory at some point, they may not allow pets, Stars and Stripes reporter Erik Slavin notes. To clarify, Stripes has not received any information that they would become mandatory at this time.

"I know at least one person who will not leave without her cats," he said. "I also met a nervous hamster owner the other day; only cats and dogs on the voluntary flights."

The following website lists organizations and resources for anyone who may be leaving Japan without their pets:http://www.kinshipcircle.org/disasters/japan_quake/notes.html

Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support is a no-kill coalition of rescue organizations. They can be reached at:http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Japan-Earthquake-Animal-Rescue-and-Support/207835229228979

-- Patrick Dickson

Free movies!  Way to go, Yokosuka!

   5:25 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

Yokosuka Naval Base is offering free movies at the Benny Decker Theater tonight and Sunday. The schedule is as follows:


5:30 p.m.: Rango (PG)

8:30: Battle: Los Angeles (PG-13)


1 p.m.: Rango (PG)

5:30 p.m.: Battle: Los Angeles (PG-13)

8:30 p.m. The Rite (PG-13)

Seats are first-come, first-serve and MPAA restrictions still apply. The snack bar is closed but outside food and non-alcoholic drinks will be allowed.

For information, call DSN:243-5406.

-- Erik Slavin

Atsugi chapel services

   5 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

From NAF Atsugi's Facebook page:

Chapel service schedule for Sunday:

0900 Catholic Mass (Main Chapel)
0900 Protestant Traditional (Small Chapel)
1100 Protestant Contemporary (Main Chapel)
1230 Gospel Lay-led Service (Main Chapel)
1400 Word of Victory Lay-led Service (Fellowship Hall)

After Hours Chaplain Need: 264-3100

 -- Dave Ornauer

Fast facts about the Japanese military

   4:49 p.m. Friday, Tokyo time

Mostly from Wikipedia:

The Japan Self-Defense Forces, or JSDF are the unified military forces of Japan, established after the end of the post-World War II Allied occupation. For most of the post-war period the JSDF was confined to the islands of Japan. In recent years they have been engaged in international peacekeeping operations. Recent tensions, particularly with North Korea[5] have reignited the debate over the status of the JSDF and its relation to Japanese society.

The JSDF numbered 239,430 in 2005[update] with 147,737 in the Ground Self-Defense Force, 44,327 in the Maritime Self-Defense Force, 45,517 in the Air Self-Defense Force, and 1,849 in the Joint Staff Office. Reserves numbered 57,899.

The Prime Minister is the Commander-in-Chief of the Self Defense Forces. The military authority runs from the Prime Minister to the Minister of Defense.

-- Patrick Dickson

More Japanese troops mobilized

   4:44 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

TOKYO -- Japan Minister of Defense said the number of its troops engaging in the rescue and relief efforts has reached 106,000 as of Saturday, mobilizing 209 fixed-wing aircraft, 321 helicopters and 57 ships.

Toshimi Kitazawa, Minister of Defense said during a televised press conference that JSDF troops have so far rescued 19,430 people.

A warship-based helicopter spotted Saturday morning about 400 residents trapped in an isolated area, located north of Ishinomaki in Miyagi, Kitazawa said. Food has been delivered by a Maritime Self-Defense helicopter, he said.

Meanwhile, Maritime SDF transport ship Oosumi reached Shiogama port in Sendai, capital city of Miyagi, loaded with about 4,200 gallons of kerosene, temporary bathtub facilities and daily commodity such as water, according to a spokesman for the ministry.

“We believe that delivery of the amount of kerosene will greatly contribute to ease the fuel shortage in the area,” he said.

-- Chiyoma Sumida

Update and a useful Q 'n' A on evacuation

   4:26 p.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

From Naval Forces Japan Facebook page, update on the voluntary evacuation status and answers to frequently asked questions:


-- Dave Ornauer

Voluntary departure Q&A

   2:55 p.m., Saturday local Tokyo time

On Thursday, the Defense Department authorized eligible family members, located on the island of Honshu, Japan, to depart to safe haven locations in the United States.

Following the announcement, Navy officials posted questions and answers on the Commander Naval Force Japan Facebook page.

Topics discussed include eligibility for departure, payment for the flights, reimbursement for relocation, what people can bring with them, and where will the flights take them.

Read here.

-- Tim Wightman

Governor invites Japan disaster victims to Okinawa

   2:30 p.m., Saturday local Tokyo time

Okinawa -- While helping hands to earthquake victims and areas are pouring from home and abroad, Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima of Okinawa, the farthest prefecture within Japan from the earthquake stricken regions, offered financial and emotional support for the disaster victims. He said that Okinawa is ready to receive tens of thousand of people, providing them with financial assistance for traveling and accommodation fees as well as food. He said that Okinawa has set aside 10 billion yen (about $125 million) for disaster relief efforts. For those who stay for a longer term, public or temporary housing, medical and welfare services and educational supports will be offered, he said.
“There is no need for the victims to worry about money. Please feel at ease and come to Okinawa, the warm southern island,” he addressed victims during a press conference.

-- Chiyoma Sumida

Yokosuka CO: DOD to pay for voluntary evacuation flights

   2:20 p.m., Saturday local Tokyo time

The Defense Department will pay for voluntary evacuation flights to any of the 48 continental United States, Commander Fleet Activity Yokosuka's Capt. David Owen said during a broadcast message on the base commander's channel at 1:42 p.m. Hawaii and Alaska are excluded, he said.  

Families of servicemembers and Defense Department civilians who are leaving will need TDY orders from their command, Owen said. The orders will be created per family, not by individual, Owen said.
Contractors can also use transportation, but will likely need to sign a document saying they will repay the cost of the flight . "You're probably going to have to pay for it somewhere down the road," Owen said.

-- Erik Slavin

Teams race to reconnect power to Japan nuke plant

   1:47 p.m., Saturday local Tokyo time

From The Associated Press:

Emergency workers racing to cool dangerously overheated uranium fuel scrambled Saturday to connect Japan's crippled reactors to a new power line, with electricians fighting tsunami-shattered equipment to restart the complex's cooling systems.

Read more here.

CNFJ: DOD will pay for dependent departure

   1:40 p.m., Saturday local Tokyo time 

Exerpt from CNFJ Q & A regarding voluntary dependent departure:


Q. Who pays for our travel?

A. DoD pays travel expenses for military dependents and dependents of DoD civilians who have transportation agreements. (See JFTR U6004).

Q. Who pays for our living expenses?

A. Command-sponsored DoD dependents will receive a Safe Haven Evacuation Allowance that is equivalent to the lodging, meals, and incidental expense allowance for the Safe Haven. Non-command sponsored dependents are not authorized a safe haven allowance. (See JFTR U6005).

Q. How do I get my safe haven allowance?

A. Complete and submit DD1351-2, Travel Settlement Voucher, to your nearest finance office. Allowances for the uniformed services will be in accordance with the Joint Federal Travel Regulation, Chapter 6. Allowances for civilian employees and others will be in accordance with the Joint Travel Regulation, Chapter 6.

Q. If I purchase a ticket myself, will I be reimbursed?

A. Reimbursement for personally procured transportation is uncertain at this time. The DoD will make travel arrangements for you if you are eligible for and desire to depart.

Casualty figures updated

   12:40 p.m., Saturday local Tokyo time

The Japanese Police Agency updated the number of people died or missing to 18,102. The agency said that 7,197 people died while 10,905 are missing as of 9 a.m. Saturday.
In Miyagi prefecture, one of the hardest-hit regions, 4,289 people were confirmed dead, according to the prefectural police headquarters. The number of people who are missing is not available even after one week of the earthquake, according to a police spokeswoman.
It is feared that more than 10,000 people were killed in Miyagi prefecture alone, she said.

-- Chiyomi Sumida

Voluntary departure authorized

   11:26 a.m., Saturday local Tokyo time

Post on the Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka Facebook page:
A voluntary departure for DOS and DOD SOFA sponsored dependents has been authorized.
1) The entitled eligible family members to a round trip to any of the 48 states.
2) Every family must have TDY orders with name, SSN and funding included
3) Authorized for two pieces of luggage weighing up to 70 pounds each
4) 2 Pets (dogs or cats) are allowed
5) Family members of contractors are permitted to take advantage of this opportunity.


Yokosuka voluntary departure update

   11:04 a.m. Saturday local Tokyo time

From CFAY Facebook page:

VOLUNTARY DEPARTURE. A voluntary departure for DOS and DOD SOFA sponsored dependents has been authorized.

 1) The entitled eligible family members to a round trip to any of the 48 states.

2) Every family must have TDY orders with name, SSN and funding included

3) Authorized for two pieces of luggage weighing up to 70 pounds each

4) 2 Pets (dogs or cats) are allowed

5) Family members of contractors are permitted to take advantage of this opportunity.

 Please continue to pre-register and wait for notification via your command and Commander's Channel as to when your turn will come to depart.

Atsugi update on Voluntary Departure of Dependents

   10:55 a.m. Saturday local Tokyo time

Military Assisted Voluntary Departure of Dependents Categories
#1 - Expectant mothers, families with infants to two years old and special needs
#2 - Families with children three to six years old
#3 - Families with children seven to 12 years old
#4 - Families with children 13 years old and above or no children
*** The only pets allowed for travel are dogs and cats ***

Workers rescue man in Kesennuma

   10:32 a.m. Saturday local Tokyo time

According to NHK report, a Japan Ground Self-Defense team rescued a man from a wrecked house at about 9:00 a.m. in Kesennuma of Miyagi prefecuture. He was sent to a hopital, where he is to be treated, however details including his condition is not immidiately known. 
Meanwhile, Japanese Polce Agency said 17,603 people were claimed either died or missing as of late Friday. A total of 6,911 people were killed while 10,692 are still missing, the agency said. More than 380,000 are currently taking shelters at more than 2,000 public and private facilities.

-- Chiyomi Sumida

Authorized (or Ordered) Dependent Departure Allowances

   10:14 a.m. Saturday local Tokyo time

From Navy Personnel Command:

•         The allowances paid for authorized or ordered departures are the same.
•         A dependent who is at/in the member’s PDS vicinity in Japan when the evacuation is authorized/ ordered, is authorized transportation to a safe haven or to a designated place if competent authority directs the travel (JFTR U6004B).
•         The current evacuation authorization designates the United States (50 states and D.C.) as the safe haven location.  Election of Hawaii or Alaska as a safe haven requires approval from PDUSD (P&R).

Transportation and Safe Haven Allowances
•         Transportation expenses/travel per diem continues from time the family departs the evacuation site, through the time they reach their safe haven location. This includes processing time, however does not include time spent on personal travel while enroute to safe haven location (U6004B).
•         Travel and transportation allowances are also payable to a member, a U.S. Gov’t civilian employee, or a person who travels under an official travel authorization/order as an escort for a  dependent evacuated who is incapable of traveling alone to the safe haven, due to age, physical or mental incapacity, or other extraordinary circumstances (JFTR U6004H1).
•         Safe haven allowances for a uniformed member’s command-sponsored dependents for the first 30 days are up to 100% of the local per diem rate (including lodging, meals and incidentals) for dependents 12 years and above; dependents under 12 years receive up to 50% of the local per diem rate. Allowances for days 31-180 are up to 60% for dependents 12 years or older and up to 50% for those under age 12 (JFTR 6005D1).
•         Once the safe haven location is selected, it cannot be changed.  Waiver authority is PDUSD (P&R).
•         Non-command sponsored dependents are authorized transportation allowances only – no safe haven allowances/per diem (JFTR U6001A1).
•         Command-sponsored dependents may receive $25/day/family local travel allowances to partially offset the expenses an incurred for required local travel (JFTR U6006B2).
•         Tax paid on lodgings while at a safe haven is a reimbursable expense (JFTR U6005A).

Household Goods/Shipping Allowances
•         When a dependent is directed to move to a safe haven the member is authorized transportation of unaccompanied baggage for the dependent, and those HHG items authorized/approved by competent authority as needed for the dependent’s comfort and well-being at the safe haven from the member’s foreign OCONUS PDS and/or from non-temporary storage (NTS) to the safe haven (JFTR U6007B1).
•         Members’ dependents may ship up to 350 pounds of unaccompanied baggage per adult and 175 pounds per child under 12 years of age, for a maximum of 1,000 pounds (JFTR 6007A2).
•         If the unaccompanied baggage allowance is not used because of circumstances beyond the evacuee’s control, an air freight replacement allowance may be authorized/ approved to help defray costs of items ordinarily part of the authorized shipment which must be purchased. The flat amounts are as follows: one evacuated dependent: $250; two evacuated dependents: $450(total); three or more evacuated dependents: $600 (total) (JFTR U6007A3).
•         Pets - A member is authorized transportation to the safe haven location incident to an evacuation from a foreign PDS for up to two household pets which the member owned at the evacuated foreign PDS (to include quarantine fees).  Animals such as horses, fish, birds, various rodents, and others are excluded due to size, exotic nature, shipping restrictions, host country restrictions, and/or special handling difficulties (JFTR U6016).
•         POV - Transportation of a POV at Gov’t expense to a safe haven is not authorized (JFTR U6008A1).

Housing Allowance Entitlement
•         A member, whose command sponsored dependents are evacuated and who was authorized a with dependent housing allowance on the evacuation date, continues to be paid such allowance while the member's PDS remains unchanged and the member continues to maintain private sector housing, as long as the command-sponsored dependents are receiving evacuation allowances. 
•         If dependents’ return to the PDS is not authorized/approved, they are directed to select a designated place and continue to receive evacuation allowances until they establish a permanent residence.  A member is authorized a with-dependents allowance based on the designated place location beginning the day after evacuation allowance per diem terminates. OHA based on the OCONUS PDS stops the day before (JFTR U10426A1).  Once the housing allowance at the dependents’ location begins (the day the dependents move into a permanent residence), if government quarters are not available for the member at the OCONUS PDS, FSH-O begins on the same day (JFTR U10426A1).

Family Separation Allowance
•         A member is entitled to FSA if a member has a dependent depart an overseas duty station at government expense because of an evacuation and begins on the date of dependent’s departure from the PDS (DODFMR Vol. 7A, Table 27-3, Rule 16).

NAF Atsugi plan for Military Assisted Departure of Dependents

   9:58 a.m. Saturday local Tokyo time

Naval Air Facility Atsugi is actively planning for the Military Assisted Voluntary Departure of Dependents. The first possible aircraft could arrive this evening (Mar. 19). The category lists have been simplified due to incomplete information received. Categories #1 through #4 still apply. The following is how the notification process will work:
• The groups within each category will be notified alphabetically
• The first group to be informed will be NAF Atsugi Category 1, with last names starting from A to M (approx. 300 personnel)
• The second group to be informed will be NAF Atsugi Category 1 with last names starting from N to Z (approx. 300 personnel)
• Then Category #1 personnel from Yokosuka (approx. 1,500 pers.) and Zama (approx. 300 pers.)
• The above process will repeat for Categories #2, #3 and #4
• When your category is announced, bring all your luggage, pets, children and report to Cinema 77
REMINDER: This is still in the planning stage - NO Categories have been called as of 9 a.m. March 19, 2011.
Military Assisted Voluntary Departure of Dependents Categories
#1 - Expectant mothers, families with infants to 0-2 years old and special needs.
#2 - Families with children 3-6 years old
#3 - Families with children 7-12 years old
#4 - Families with children 13 years old and above or no children
*** The ONLY pets allowed for travel are CATS and DOGS ***

-- Erik Slavin

Japan leader vows to rebuild

   8:37 a.m. Saturday local Tokyo time 

From The Associated Press:

One week after an earthquake and tsunami spawned a nuclear crisis, the Japanese government conceded Friday it was slow to respond to the disaster and welcomed ever-growing help from the United States in hopes of preventing a complete meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.

Read more here.

DODDS teachers hired in the U.S. told to stay in Japan

   4:35 a.m. Saturday local Tokyo time

Defense Department school employees in Japan who were hired from the States were ordered Friday not to exit the country, leaving some with little choice but to keep their young children in Japan with them.

Read more here.


Update on Yokota departures

   1 a.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

From Yokota Air Base 374th Airlift Wing public affairs office:

Team Yokota,

MPS Customer Service will be open Saturday, 19 Mar 11, 0800-1200, to
support renewing ID cards for evacuee's departure.

374 AW/PA sends on behalf of 374 FSS

-- Dave Ornauer

To evacuate or not to evacuate

   12:40 a.m. Saturday, Tokyo time

How do families of Defense Department personnel decide whether to evacuate Japan in the wake of Thursday’s voluntary evacuation order for dependents on the island of Honshu?

An occupational and public health expert who has studied radiation effects says that, just as the CDC did in years past during the anthrax attacks and H1N1 flu scare, military officials in Japan should create a single, central source of information.

“It would really help people if they knew at 12 o’clock today, I’ll get an update on email or Twitter… that has the best, latest information about health concerns,” said Lewis Pepper, a professor at Boston University School of Public Health.

Because that information will be complex data on radiation levels and types of radionucleotides present, expert interpretation is needed. “You can’t just dump millirems and millisieverts on people,” he said. “You need qualified people to interpret it.”

Pepper said his best reading of the data available in the United States is that people on U.S. bases are far enough away from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant to take a wait-and-see attitude.

“Does the current situation present risk to areas we know people are living in?” he said. “I think the answer is that now it does not likely present either an immediate or long-term threat.”

The fact that the situation could worsen, however, may be too much for some.

“If individuals feel they can’t tolerate the psychological stress of it, and many people just can’t, they should leave,” he said.

-- Chris Carroll

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