Yokota hosts Japanese Disaster Preparedness Exercise
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- 374th Airlift Wing partnered with members from Japanese government agencies and first responders for the first bi-lateral disaster preparedness exercise since 2009 at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Jan. 31, 2014.
According to Maj. Edward Walker, director of inspections for the 374 AW, the event was to help U.S. military and Japanese disaster response teams learn more about handling Yokota aircraft in the event of an off-base emergency.
During the exercise, participants broke up into small groups, rehearsing their roles and responses in a realistic, simulated emergency. Some of the key aspects of the tabletop exercise were to assign and validate roles and responsibilities and organize and coordinate communications in the event of a disaster while promoting interoperability capabilities.
"This is a great opportunity to bring our Japanese partners on base, engage with the local community and government of Japan and increase our capabilities as first responders in an emergency management situation." Walker said.
Yokota hosted more than 150 local first responders in order to enhance readiness and interoperability between U.S. and Japanese disaster response teams. The event was packed with opportunities for communication, coordination and partnership building.
"I think the joint exercise was successful," said Mr. Takaoka, North Kanto Defense Bureau liaison officer. "The attendees here are skilled and proficient but most are not familiar with our U.S. counterparts so it was important for them to engage and learn together in order to mutually understand the appropriate actions in case of an incident."