Operation Tomodachi is the relief effort of the III Marine Expeditionary Force. Over the last couple of days planes and helicopters have been leaving bases in Okinawa and heading north. Some will be flying to Naval Base Atsugi, near Tokyo while others will probably head to Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture . (Tomodachi is the Japanese word for friend)
I will continue to post updates on my blog and the Chris Willson Photography Facebook page, but if you have family members in the US armed forces you can also get the latest information about the Marines in Japan at the III Marine Expeditionary Force Facebook page.
Some have asked if I intend to head up to the disaster area to photograph the events taking place. Logistically it would be almost impossible to get there from Okinawa by myself. It would be different if I could be embedded with part of the military or civilian humanitarian effort, but these are contacts that are difficult to make if you’re a lone photographer unaffiliated to a major news agency.
The latest news I’ve heard is that, along with 3 other trains, one of the bullet trains that runs between Tokyo and Aomori is missing. The Hachinohe to Aomori section was only finished in December 2010 and the new Hayabusa train only came into service on March 5th 2011. The fate of the passengers is unknown, and it is clear that rail travel along the east coast of Japan will be disrupted for the indefinite future.