On 10 February, Australian Ambassador H.E. Mr Richard Court AC participated in a ceremony to welcome back the Japanese Self Defence Forces detachment that deployed to Australia to assist in bushfire relief activities.
The detachment, comprising two C-130 aircraft and approximately 70 personnel, arrived at the Komaki Air Base in Aichi.
Ambassador Court said “the Australian people greatly appreciated the generous and swift assistance from Japan. Offering help at a time of need is the true meaning of friendship. It is a testament to the close ties between Australia and Japan.”
The Japanese Air Self Defense Force commanding officer, Colonel Masashi Ota noted that “we took on this mission in gratitude for the support we received from Australian forces that were dispatched to Japan in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake”.
The Self Defense Forces personnel deployed to Australia in mid-January and provided invaluable assistance in the Australian bushfire response. While in Australia, the Self Defense Forces aircraft were based in New South Wales, making a significant contribution to the bushfire response by transporting military and civilian personnel, as well as fire-fighting equipment.