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The Operation Tomodachi

Since the M9.0 earthquake and the towering waves of tsunamis left North-East Japan in devastation, so many countries offered us help, including those which I'd imagine could ill afford to do so: in fact, 132 nations and regions, and 34 international institutions to this day. After the crisis broke out at Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Plant, some nations - most noticeably the USA and South Korea, among others - promptly came to our rescue again. It was uplifting, to say the least, to know that the world cared about us, about the tragedy that befell those families who were torn asunder by the awesome natural disaster.

I will never forget how much relief I felt in hearing the news that South Korea was on its way to Japan, immediately after the disaster struck us. How much strength the international aid gave us. Most of all, America has proven to be our staunch ally.

The US took to the task of rescuing Japan full-scale; it was named "The Operation Tomodachi." When I heard the news, I couldn't help smiling at the slight cheesiness of it, but at the same time, nothing was more moving, and reassuring. Approximately 13,000 personnel are mobilised for this operation.

The US Air Force has been transporting relief goods such as food and clothes from the US Kadena airfield in Okinawa, and has been flying unmanned recon planes over the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant.

The US Army has sent medical and engineering teams, and has been engaged in the restoration of the airport in Sendai.

The US Marine Corps has been transporting relief goods to the affected areas from the super carrier acting as a relief centre.

The nuclear powered super carrier Ronald Reagan, with its fleet of 20 warships, had been on its way to military maneuver with South Korea, but changed its course on hearing about the news from Japan. It positioned itself 50km off the coast of Sanriku, and has been acting as an impromptu maritime base for rescue efforts since 13 March, only two days after the disaster struck Japan.

As the roads were severed in the coastal areas in Iwate and Miyagi by the tsunamis, the US rescue teams send relief goods from the temporary maritime base by helicopters. They spot shelters cut off from roads from above. They discovered 17 such isolated shelters in one day alone. In the news coverage, I saw old women bowing their heads deeply, holding the American soldier's hands, wordlessly thanking him. They have delivered 230tons of relief goods.

As a nuclear powered super carrier, Ronald Reagan is uniquely equipped with radiation monitoring equipments. Although the carrier is positioned 90km away from the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant, they take meticulous precautions against any possibility of exposure to radiation. They carefully monitor the radiation levels of personnel, check the wind directions, and provide pilots with iodine preparations against contingency. If the radiation level should go up, they would move the carrier to a different spot and continue with their rescue operation.

The US is fully engaged in the operations to pump fresh water into the reactors, sending two large vessels that can contain 1,100tons each. The US government also offered that it was ready to send a nuclear specialist troop of 450 men, on the Japanese government's request.

This shan't be forgotten in a hurry, how much our big tomodachi has been doing for us; indeed, how much our tomodachis both within Japan and abroad have been doing for us.


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