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03/16/2012
Japanese Consul General hosts tsunami memorial
SAN FRANCISCO – Tuesday, March 13, the Consul General of Japan Hiroshi Inomata held an event in San Francisco to remember victims of Japan’s March 11, 2011, Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and to thank those who helped in the aftermath and recovery of that day’s tragedies.

The significance of the event’s location, the Golden Gate Club on the Presidio of San Francisco, was not lost on those present, since the famous US-Japan Security Treaty was signed in the same room, Sept. 8, 1951.

In addition to workers from the consulate and Japanese-American citizens, the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC)’s Assistant Commandant, Col. Laura Ryan, and Japanese instructor Hitoshi Tanabe, attended the ceremony along with students from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). Both groups had participated in different ways in Operation Tomodachi, literally “Operation Friends,” the U.S. Armed Forces assistance operation that supported the disaster relief efforts in Japan.

One year ago, U.S. Forces came to Japan’s aid with the USS Ronald Reagan and 24,000 personnel, including some of the NPS students. Meanwhile, dozens of DLIFLC-trained Japanese Foreign Area Officers linguists were already on the ground, using their language skills to help in any way they could.  

“Operation Tomodachi really exemplifies the possibilities of that partnership between our military and our two great countries spanning the Pacific Ocean,” said a Navy Lt. from NPS, speaking on behalf of his military colleagues who had come to think of Japan as their second home, and who did whatever they could to help following the devastation.

Support from DLIFLC also came in the form of Japanese Language Survival Kits, pocket sized quick reference books with audio recordings, that were immediately made available to U.S. Navy service members via the Internet.

Consul General Inomata closed his remarks by saying, “To all those who have inspired us and helped us from within and outside Japan. We will never forget your compassion and friendship.”

Story and photo by:

Sgt. 1st Class Rebecca Doucette, Strategic Communications      

Photo 1 by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kyle Carlstrom: Senior U.S. military members supporting Operation Tomodachi present Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa with a banner as he and senior Japanese leaders visit the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, April 4, 2011. (U.S. Navy Photo)(Released)       

Photo 2: The Consul General of Japan, Hiroshi Inomata, speaks to attendees March 13 at the Golden Gate Club, Presidio of San Francisco, during a one-year memorial event, in remembrance of those who were affected by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami in Japan. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Rebecca Doucette)(Released)
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