JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.77

SPECIAL FEATURE

2016 Kumamoto Earthquake

2016 Kumamoto Earthquake

Around 9:26pm on April 14th, a major earthquake (magnitude 6.5) struck the Kumamoto region of Kumamoto Prefecture. The MOD commenced information gathering on the disaster and at 10:40pm on the day of the earthquake the Governor of Kumamoto Prefecture issued a request to the commander of the GSDF 8th Division (North Kumamoto) to dispatch personnel for disaster relief assistance in the form of lifesaving operations (request of withdraw on May 30th). Additionally, around 1:25am on April 16th, another major earthquake (magnitude of 7.3) struck the Kumamoto region of Kumamoto Prefecture. The MOD commenced information gathering on the disaster and at 2:36am on the day of the earthquake the Governor of Oita Prefecture issued a request to the commander of the GSDF Western Army Artillery Unit (Yufuin) to dispatch personnel for disaster relief assistance in the form of lifesaving operations (request of withdraw on April 28th).

2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake

The MOD and SDF collectively exerted their best efforts to respond to this disaster while closely cooperating with relevant ministries and agencies and the affected local governments. On April 16th, the day of the main earthquake, a Joint Task Force under the command of the Headquarters of the Western Army comprising more than 20,000 personnel from the GSDF, MSDF, and ASDF was formed. Starting from April 23rd, all available vehicles, aircraft and vessels planned for use by the maximum 26,000-strong Joint Task Force were deployed and full-fledged efforts were devoted to providing living assistance to those affected by the disaster (transport of supplies, provision of food, water supply, bathing and medical assistance).

Initially after the quake, large numbers of people were forced to live in evacuation centers because many homes were destroyed and infrastructure cut off. At the instructions of the Prime Minister, relevant ministries and agencies collectively worked together to provide detailed assistance to meet the needs of affected local governments and persons, including transporting necessary supplies, preparing food, providing water and providing bathing assistance so that those affected by this disaster can quickly restore their day to day infrastructure and live in peace of mind. Under the Prime Minister’s resolute stance of “doing all that can be done,” the MOD and SDF exerted their fullest efforts to provide assistance to those affected by this disaster.

2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake

With approx. 110 aircraft participating as of April 26th, all out efforts were carried out for living assistance activities to those affected. This included search and rescue activities following the earthquake, push-type supplies transport, assistance preparing food, provision of water, and bathing assistance.

The initial response to this disaster was swift and it was possible to facilitate the transport of supplies and enhance unit capabilities through the use of the transport capacity of the U.S. Forces in Japan and the private sector. For this reason, the SDF was able to maximize its response activities to the fullest.

Given the quantitatively declining needs of living assistance from the SDF compared to the initial outset and the gradual restoration of electricity, water, gas and other lifelines, the Joint Task Force was disbanded on May 9th.

The MOD and SDF will re-examine its major earthquake preparedness plan in order to safeguard peoples’ lives and properties during the next disaster. The MOD and SDF will make doubly sure to prepare prior to emergencies, through the implementation of and participation in disaster risk reduction training. Ongoing efforts will be made to further enhance the system being deployed for equipment and transport services.

2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
2016 Kumamoto Earthquake
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