JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.81

COLUMN

Matsushima

Matsushima

Japan is surrounded by the ocean and for this reason there are countless locations of scenic beauty throughout the country. Of these coastal locations, the three most famous are Amanohashidate, Miyajima and Matsushima. Situated in the Tohoku region, Matsushima comprises 260 islands with stunning natural beauty formed over a long history that features the combination of the horizon line of the Pacific Ocean, the blue of the ocean, and the green of pine trees.

Matsushima appeared in Oku no Hosomichi, translated alternately as The Narrow Road to the Deep North, which is a major work written during the Edo period by the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho. This resulted in a number of people visiting the area, especially poetry fans. Eventually the area developed into a major sightseeing destination.

Matsushima

Also, Matsushima is home to ASDF Matsushima Air Base, famous for the Blue Impulse, which is a specialist aerobatic team that performs during air shows and other major events to raise the profile of the ASDF among the general public.

On March 11th in 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, or strong 6 on Japan’s seismic intensity scale, struck off the coast of the Sanriku area. The Matsushima Air Base was hit by a more than 2-meter high tsunami of mud and debris that inundated the base’s aircraft, including F-2 fighters, causing extensive damage.

After the quake, the base was able to restore its flight operations at an early stage. The base was used to help restore the lives of countless people affected by this disaster, handling huge amounts of supplies as a transport hub and operate search and rescue aircraft.

Today, Matsushima Air Base has returned to normal operations as its fleet of aircraft returned home by March of this year. The base also completed work on relocating facilities to higher ground in preparation for future tsunami. On August 28th, an event commemorating the reopening of Matsushima Air Base was held, and approx. 10,000 people selected through a lottery were invited to attend a special air show.

As the home base of the Blue Impulse and as a disaster risk reduction hub for the Tohoku region, Matsushima Air Base will continue to fulfill its duties and mission to the fullest.

Matsushima
Matsushima
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