News: Japanese engineers work to support Operation Tomodachi
Story by Spc. Cody Thompson
CAMP ZAMA, Japan — After the Great East Japan Earthquake wreaked havoc upon the Tohoku and Kanto regions of Japan, engineers are providing a critical role in clearing debris, building structures, and providing engineer support for finding survivors. The 4th Engineer Group of the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force is staying busy, and awaiting orders on Camp Zama, to provide assistance in the affected regions to the north.
“Our unit’s mission is to support rescue operations together with Operation Tomodachi,” Sgt. 1st Class Fuyuk Ito, a JGSDF soldier with community relations, said.
The JGSDF Engineers with the Japanese Eastern Army are working tirelessly to complete a warehouse to store their engineering equipment, and ready supplies to send to the Northern region of the island within the next week, the Yokohama native, added.
Equipment has been vital to the mission, and through a joint effort with U.S. military the relief work continues without interruption in the Tohoku area.
“The mission area is too big for our unit to cover alone,” Sgt. 1st Class Tetsuya Mizuura, a training sergeant with the JGSDF said.
There has been a lot of training and coordination with the U.S. Military, and they are continuously exchanging engineering equipment to ensure that there are no shortages, the Nagasaki, native added.
Ensuring that both the JGSDF and U.S. Military have the proper equipment available to help those affected by the earthquake is personal for the 4th Engineer Group soldiers.
“I was very sad to hear the news of the earthquake,” Sgt. Mari Yoshida, a JGSDF soldier with community relations, said.
As tears welled in her eyes, the Kanagawa native added, “I just wanted to cheer them up and make them smile again.”
The Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11 changed more than just the landscape, it affected a culture.
“This big earthquake affected the Japanese mind,” Mizuura said. “We forgot how dangerous they could be. We have to study and know about this again, because as a soldier we have to be ready to help.”