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Operation Tomodachi vs. Katrina

Taking Care of Home First

I was really happy to hear news agencies reporting positive news lately. There were stories of volunteers from far and wide who traveled to quake effected areas through out Tohoku. There was another report in the Times about the government not being able to handle the volume of volunteer groups and organizations that came to help, and that some had to be turned away or requested to visit other areas. So many Japanese took time out of their own travels to offer assistants to whoever and whomever needed it. Stories of new love found and friendship were refreshing for a change too, and I was happy that the " fear press" was kept at bay and left starving for attention. The American military had to officially terminate "Operation Tomodachi," a U.S. led military clean up operation that assisted the Japanese people greatly. Having Sendai Airport up and running again logistically was an enormous relief for the whole entire quake effected areas, and the Japanese owe a debt of gratitude for that effort, thanks to the U.S. Navy. The next great push I would like to see the media promote is the separation of Chernobyl and what happened in Fukushima. Japan must clearly break ties with the legacy of Chernobyl! Why? Because Fukushima is no Chernobyl. Never was and never will be! We need to push the Japanese media and other news agencies to seperate that tragedy from what happened in Tohoku because the two are clearly not the same in spite of the radioactivity levels reported by government agencies. This was a mistake by the Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his lack of leadership. Aside from that, things are going smoothly. Our communities are back up and running normally. People are going about their daily routines. Relief efforts went very well and I am impressed and overwhelmed at the level of support by Japanese and non-Japanese.

When I compare Operation Katrina, well, that was no operation. That was an enormous disaster for the most part. America spares no expense nor distance for its economic partnerships with its neighbors, but for its own? Japan received unprecedented support, more than at any other time in recent memory for me. However, according to the "Iron Laws" of history we learn that nothing is without condition. Japan is grateful I'm sure, but at what cost? Post Katrina there was still so much bitterness and pain in the air. The U.S. military responded by sending in the National Guard, and instead of bringing broom sticks they brought in boom sticks!(shot guns). The response effort was of an aggressive posture, not "hey, I'm here to help you." It took days and weeks before anything could effectively be done to help the citizens of New Orleans. People lost everything and had no support structure to help see them through for the most part. This is/was America at that time. Is America still the same? Only time will tell.

Charity begins at home, is an axiom that rings true even today. Again, I was happy to see and hear of so many stories of new love and friendship discovered in Japan. When the dust settles though, i wonder will we all forget? The Great Hanshin earthquake is a very distant memory, in fact, Chernobyl is receiving more press than Japan's own tragic history with earthquakes. This is clearly wrong. Chernobyl shouldn't even be in the Japanese news, at all, frankly speaking. Do we all forget what happened during the Cold War? What did Chernobyl create? What was the purpose of its creation? Surely it wasn't just a cheaper source of new energy. Fukushima is no Chernobyl! There are no nuclear weapons being manufactured here in Japan that I am aware of. The media gave very little attention to Chernobyl over 20 years ago because of what that nuclear plant represented to the free world at that time!

("You shouldn't be asking for pity from those countries who do not have nuclear weapons over a trajedy created by your need to create weapons grade nuclear materials") Leave Japan out of it, please!

Japan has to ready for the U.S and its demands for better leverage over the Okinawa issue, because like I have said, America does nothing without a condition attached. Nothing! Japan needs to protect its integrity and must ensure that the events that transpired post 3-11 do not place the nation in a weaker position at the negotiation table.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. To explain American military deployment: It is illegal to deploy the standing military on American soil unless the president has declared martial law. The National Guard is a separate state-funded organization and doesn't fall under that law, so they can be deployed in a civil support roll.

  3. Thanks for commenting NeuroGlide, your point is understood, but what it really sounds like is more red tape and more " who's responsibility was it to do what.." to me. You can't ask the victims to understand the bureaucracy and whose responsibility was it to do something, especially at a time of crisis. The victims of Katrina needed their government and their government failed them for the most part.


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