U.S. Embassy Co-hosts U.S.-Japan-Australia Disaster Assistance Workshop

May 30, 2007

In an effort to strengthen U.S.-Japan-Australian civilian and military relations with regard to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations (HA/DR), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), together with the U.S. Embassy's Tokyo American Center and the U.S. Defense Attache, is co-hosting the third disaster assistance workshop on May 30-31, 2007. The partnering Japanese co-host is the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA). This, the third of three workshops, focuses on "transition, end-state of HA/DR," or completing the mission. The first and second of the HA/DR workshops focused on predeployment planning and on-the-ground execution.

These workshops promote the ongoing dialogue between U.S. and Japanese civilian and military humanitarian assistance and disasters relief personnel to improve joint responses to disasters within Asia and the Pacific Rim. At the second and third workshops, Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Australian military have participated.

In 2005 and 2006, both the U.S. and Japan provided significant humanitarian assistance from both civilian and military agencies, in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Pakistan earthquake, the mudslides in the Philippines, the earthquake in Central Java, Indonesia, and the typhoon in the Philippines. The workshops emerged out of a series of events and discussions from 2005 between senior U.S. and Japanese officials. Additionally, they reflect both broad public support for Japanese and U.S. involvement in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and the mutual goal of strengthening the U.S.-Japan relationship to meet new and evolving security challenges.

Workshop participants represent a wide range of civilian and military agencies. U.S. participants will include staff from USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, U.S. Department of State officials, and members of U.S. Pacific Command, (PACOM), the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet, the U.S. Navy Maritime Civil Affairs Group, the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF), the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, and the International Medical Corps, a non-governmental organization. Japanese participants will include officials from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, staff from the Japan Ministry of Defense, Japan Self Defense Forces officers, and the Japan Platform (a consortia of non-governmental organizations), and several Japanese NGOs. This workshop includes participants from the UN World Food Program, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).