USFJ to join Tokyo drill for disaster relief
Stars and Stripes, YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The U.S. military again will participate in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s earthquake disaster drill on Saturday, U.S. Forces Japan said.
The seventh annual exercise takes place at various sites around Tokyo, including Yokota’s flight line and the Hardy Barracks helipad downtown. The simulation is based on the aftermath of a massive earthquake.
The USS Tortuga out of Yokosuka Naval Base will carry up to 100 “stranded” Japanese citizens away from affected areas in the city. A UH-60 Black Hawk crew from Camp Zama is set to transport medical and relief supplies to Yokota after stopping at the Hardy Barracks compound.
U.S. and Japanese officials say they use the drill to improve coordination and response plans among government, military and civic agencies. It coincides each year with the anniversary of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, a massive 8.3-magnitude temblor that killed more than 140,000 people, left hundreds of thousands homeless and devastated Tokyo and its outlying communities.
On Sunday, 10 sailors from Yokosuka will participate in Kanagawa Prefecture’s general disaster response drill, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun. It will be conducted in Isehara and feature U.S. military involvement for the first time. Yokosuka sailors are to move medical supplies from the base to the disaster site about 25 miles away, the newpaper reported.