U.S. Military Remains Ready to Help Japan

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2011 — The U.S. mil­i­tary remains ready to help Japan, even as it has repo­si­tioned many assets since a 9.0 mag­ni­tude earth­quake marked a chain of dis­as­ters there one month ago, mil­i­tary offi­cials said.
Numer­ous after­shocks have rocked north­east Japan since the March 11 earth­quake, includ­ing a 6.6 mag­ni­tude after­shock report­ed today and a 7.1 mag­ni­tude quake report­ed April 8.

The U.S. mil­i­tary has not been called to help with the most-recent after­shocks, but con­tin­ues to give sup­port and remains posi­tioned to respond to requests by the Japan­ese gov­ern­ment, Pen­ta­gon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan told reporters today. 

“We con­tin­ue to pro­vide some mea­sure of assis­tance to Japan, but cer­tain­ly not at the lev­el it was at a few weeks ago,” Lapan said. 

The mil­i­tary sent some 20,000 troops, 140 air­craft and at least 20 ships in sup­port of Oper­a­tion Tomodachi since March 11, accord­ing to mil­i­tary officials. 

While no U.S. ships are direct­ly sup­port­ing Oper­a­tion Tomodachi today, sev­er­al are for­ward deployed to Japan as part of their reg­u­lar oper­a­tions, offi­cials said. About 50,000 U.S. troops are based in Japan. 

“U.S. forces remain com­mit­ted to the gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of Japan and are posi­tioned for sus­tained sup­port,” DOD pub­lic affairs offi­cer Navy Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde said. “U.S. mil­i­tary forces through­out Japan main­tain the capa­bil­i­ty to pro­vide rapid response.” 

The repo­si­tion­ing of U.S. mil­i­tary assets “is an indi­ca­tor of the tremen­dous progress the Japan­ese gov­ern­ment and the Japan Self-Defense Forces have made on the ground in deal­ing with this cat­a­stro­phe,” she said. 

The ini­tial earth­quake was fol­lowed by a tsuna­mi and a par­tial melt­down of some of Japan’s nuclear reac­tors, as well as mul­ti­ple after­shocks in the past four weeks. The U.S. mil­i­tary respond­ed to Japan imme­di­ate­ly, with assis­tance to Japan­ese forces, as well as more than 2 mil­lion gal­lons of water, 189 tons of food, 11,960 gal­lons of fuel and 100 tons of relief sup­plies, offi­cials said. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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