Japan Ministry of Defense


 
Second Unit Commander Colonel Fukunaga receiving the  unit flag from First Unit Commander Colonel Yamamoto
No.18 AUGUST 2010

Second Unit Commander Colonel Fukunaga receiving the unit flag from First Unit Commander Colonel Yamamoto

Disaster Relief Assistance to Haiti Continues

The first unit of the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) International Relief Team to Haiti, which had been engaged in the reconstruction assistance for Haiti, on which a major earthquake had wrecked havoc in January 2010, transferred its command to the second unit on March 18 (local time). The second unit took over the peacekeeping operations (PKOs) of the first unit, which had completed its mission of the removal of rubble from an art museum in the capital. Almost all personnel of the first unit returned to Japan by March 24. The second unit has worked on the earthquake  inspection of the U.N. facilities and construction of the camp site, as well as rubble removal in the capital. In addition, currently it has been engaged in the activities like road repairs connecting Haiti to neighboring Dominican Republic, construction of the retaining walls and drainage facilities on refugee camps, reclamation to expand logistical facilities for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), and transport assistance for the Brazilian Army's camp. The Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF)'s airlift unit, consisting of three C-130H aircraft, also transported personnel (975 people) and supplies (approximately 70 tons) in 29 roundtrips between Haiti and U.S. air force base in Miami, from January 17 to March 22. With the mission completed, and as there was no longer a need for emergency airlift, this unit returned to Japan at the end of March. Since then, the ASDF has been alerted within Japan for the next missions.

Repairs of Refugee Camps and Other Facilities by the Second Unit, which Took Over mission from the First Unit

On March 18, Colonel Masashi Fukunaga, the commander of the second unit ( 350 members) of the International Relief Team to Haiti received the unit flag from Colonel Masaharu Yamamoto, the commander of the first unit, and took over the PKO mission. Before departing from Japan, Lieutenant Colonel Komatsu, the member of the second unit said, "We would like to succeed to the missions of the first unit and hope to contribute to giving support with a good care with the viewpoint of the local people."

On March 19, the GSDF unit completed the mission of removing rubble from an art museum in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. They also worked on the earthquake inspection of the U.N. facilities and have been constructing the camp site.

The first unit successively returned to Japan in line with the arrival of the second unit to Haiti. On March 24, almost all personnel came back to Japan except a small number of necessary personnel who stayed there for the smooth transition to the second unit. On March 26, the dismissal ceremony of the first unit was held at GSDF Camp Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture.

The second unit has been working on removing rubble from collapsed buildings in the city of Port-au-Prince, repairing the road leading into the neighboring Dominican Republic, constructing retaining walls and drainage facilities in refugee camps, reclaiming the expansion of the logistical facilities for United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and providing transport assistance for the Brazilian Army whose camp is adjacent to the second unit's camp.

With the loss of many PKO personnel due to the earthquake, the United Nations requested the international community to send earthquake experts. In response to this, the Ministry of Defense (MOD) dispatched three engineering officials who are qualified in Japan to be as first-class registered architects. They started the resistance testing for the United Nations-related facilities from March 12. After testing 40 buildings over one-month period, they returned to Japan at the end of April.
*The activities mentioned above were conducted between February and May, 2010.

Description of the SDF's PKO Activities in Haiti

A major magnitude 7 earthquake hit Haiti on January 13 (Japan time)., On January 20, the MOD decided to dispatch a Disaster Relief Medical Assistance Team from the Middle Army, Ground Self-Defense Force. On January 21, the team departed for the disaster area. On January 25, the government conveyed to the U.N. its intention to dispatch an engineering unit to the United Nations' Peacekeeping Operations (MINUSTAH). On February 5, the Japanese Government made a cabinet decision regarding the "Plan for Implementation of International Peace Cooperation Assignment in Haiti". Following this decision, Defense Minister Kitazawa on the same day issued an "Order for Self-Defense Forces Operations for Implementation of International Peace Cooperation Assignment in Haiti."