CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Army News Service, March 14, 2011) -- In response to the earthquake and tsunami that hit northern Japan March 11, U.S. Army Japan/1st Corps Forward has activated its Emergency Operations Center and is mobilizing a disaster assessment team.

The 8.9-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated a number of coastal towns in northern Japan and reports indicate that some survivors are still without adequate food and water. The U.S. Army team will assist with bilateral humanitarian aid and disaster relief support operations there in the vicinity of Sendai, officials said.

An initial 10-person team included translators, personnel from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Japan Engineer District, communications experts and medical personnel. The disaster assessment team from Camp Zama, in Kanagawa Prefecture, was deployed to the Sendai area to join with the U.S. Forces Japan forward command post that is in place to synchronize U.S. efforts with their Japan Self Defense Force counterparts.

U.S. Army Japan has also been acquiring accountability of personnel and assessing its own facilities and equipment to determine limitations. Officials said initial assessments seem to indicate a few facilities have sustained light damage. All electrical power outages on U.S. Army installations in Japan have been restored, they said, though Soldiers and employees are being asked to conserve electricity during peak hours due to the shortage across Japan.

No reports of water or sewage issues have been received on Army installations, officials said.

U.S. Army Japan's primary mission is the defense of Japan, as part of the U.S.-government of Japan Mutual Security Alliance. The humanitarian-assistance operation is in response to requests by the Japanese government to assist in rescue and recovery operations.

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