US-Japan Joint Disaster Support Center to be Established on Shimojishima, Okinawa
The government has announced that in order to provide support in the case of a large-scale disaster in the Asia-Pacific, plans have been set for a joint US-Japan disaster support center on the island of Shimojishima in Okinawa Prefecture.
According to government officials, the disaster support center on Shimojishima will allow the SDF and US military to consult on its disaster support cooperation efforts. Furthermore, Shimojishima’s airport will be used to stockpile aid and relief resources under plans to use the location as the staging point for any disaster support operations in the Asia-Pacific. Building on the cooperative efforts of the SDF and US military following the Tohoku Earthquake, the US and Japan are aiming for joint active international disaster relief capabilities tied to regional stabilization efforts. Okinawa Prefecture is also looking to establish itself as a disaster support base as part of a larger economic stimulus measures. This week, at the Shangri-La Dialogue meeting in Singapore, Defense Minister Kitazawa is planning to announced the center’s establishment.
This certainly makes sense in terms of geography: Okinawa is the best staging point for disaster relief in South-East and East Asia, although it is unclear to what extent this center might be used to coordinate future domestic disaster relief such as the recent efforts in Tohoku. Watch this space.
A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan.
His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
James Simpson has 254 post(s) on Japan Security Watch