Complex Mission Hampers U.S. Effort in Japan

Chester Dawson
The Wall Street Journal

CAMP SENDAI, Japan—The series of disasters that has befallen Japan since March 11 has complicated the U.S. military aid effort, as cooperation with Japan’s government, inclement weather and a radiation fears have hampered the humanitarian mission.

U.S. military aid missions, such as the one last year to quake-devastated Haiti, are routine. And while Operation Tomodachi (Japanese for “friend”), using the many American troops already based in Japan, has delivered tons of aid and equipment to those hardest hit by the destructive forces of nature in Japan, the magnitude-9.0 earthquake, ensuing tsunami and especially the unfolding nuclear-power crisis have weighed on the U.S. armed forces relief mission…

…The U.S. military’s attention was divided between two separate missions: the well-publicized humanitarian effort and a quieter campaign to assess the extent of leakage from Japan’s troubled coastal reactors…

..In one sign of the stress as the nuclear crisis unfolded, an American official helping to coordinate activities with the Japanese Self Defense Forces grew teary-eyed when discussing these cooperative efforts. To be sure, that official said the two militaries were largely on the same wavelength. But otherU.S. and Japanese military sources said language, protocol and cultural barriers had proved more daunting than expected, especially for two close allies…

The complete article is at The Wall Street Journal. At the link readers will find diagrams, video, and interactive graphics.

Read also, How You Can Help the Victims of the Devastating Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

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