Citizens sent off the Self-Defense Force with waving yellow handkerchiefs

By Kikki - Last updated: 水曜日, 7月 27, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

[From Ohfunato City-my stricken home town]

– East Japan Great Earthquake & Tsunami Disaster-

Accomplishment Ceremony of the Self-Defense Force in Ohfunato

The ceremony of accomplishment of mission for the Self-Defense Force stationed in Ohfunato City was performed at the city hall on July 24. A large number of citizens participated to the ceremony and waved yellow handkerchiefs to show their gratitude for the self-defense officials. They parted the tsunami stricken city for their garrison town in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture with a promise to meet again after completely recovery of the city in near future, while sending words of yell ‘Keppare Ohfunato!’ or stick it, to citizens.

The ceremony of departing was jointly sponsored by the city and the Self-Defense Force Supporters’ Organization in Ofunato City. About 70 officers under No. 39 Ordinary Regimental Ground Self-Defense Force from Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture and their 20 automobiles lined up at the parking lot of the city hall. And about 600 citizens send them off.

As an attraction of the ceremony, 23 members of the drum club from the East-Ohfunato Senior High School performed a local drum music called ‘Kesencho Kenka Tanabata Taiko’ or Aggressive Drum Music for the Star Festival in Towns of Kesen district. The Self-Defense Force had stationed at the school ground of the senior high school while they had engaged in their mission. The students in the drum club performed the music for showing their gratitude to the Self-Defense Force.

‘You gave vigor, hope, and courage to our citizens while we were at loss through your various supports under command of well organized activities at the stricken sites. We must reconstruct our city better than before the disaster. I think this is the least we can do to show our gratitude to you.’ The mayor, Kimiaki Toda gave an address at the ceremony in a quivering voice with tear. ‘We could not accomplish our mission without your understanding and cooperation.’ Mr. Hiroya Sasaki, the commanding officer of the Self-Defense Force expressed. ‘We hope your city will be able to be reconstructed, and also all missing citizens shall return to their homes as soon as possible. Keppare Ohfunato, until your complete recovery.’ He also sent a yell to citizens.

A 6th grade student from the Sakari Elementary School, Mr. Kamimura released his composition as a representative of the citizens. ‘I like to be a strong-minded man like members of the Self-Defense Force who can also attend to everybody very politely.’ Then a bunch of flowers is handed over to the commanding officer, Mr. Sasaki by Miss Chiharu Ohkubo, a 6th grade student from the same school. The citizens sent them off with showing their gratitude for their supports over 4 months while their yellow handkerchiefs streaming in the wind.

The officers waved back their hands from their vehicles and reconfirmed close bond of affection between them. They parted with a promise to meet again at reconstructed Ohfunato in near future. Other than citizens at the city hall, local fire fighters also sent them off along the route 45 in Sakari Town and stood at salute.

The Self-Defense Force supported citizens in various fields


The officers of the Self-Defense Force had supported citizens in various fields since the disaster occurred, such as reconstruction of main roads, lifesaving, removing rubbles on the roads, supplying of water, distributing emergency food, providing of temporary bathing facilities, and so on. Mainly 508 officers belonged to No. 39 Ordinary Regimental Ground Self-Defense Force involved in supporting activities in the city. They made full use of their 128 vehicles including those for water supply and cooking. In addition, 121 officers under No.2 battalion in the No.9 Special Subject Regimental Ground Self-Defense Force form Takizawa Village, 29 officers under No.3 company in the No.9 the Military Facilities Regimental Ground Self-Defense Force form Hachinohe, and 65 officers under the No.6 Military Facilities Group from Gifu and Toyokawa were dispatched to Ohfunato City. Totally 34,840 officers days were dispatched. Total quantity of water supplied was 1,114 tons since May 27, and 283,820 emergency meals were served up to the beginning of July.

33.265 citizens took bath at the temporary bath facility provided in the Sakari Elementary School and the Rias Hall by the Self-Defense Force.

All officers from the Self-Defense Force already left from Rikuzen-takata City on July 20. Now, there are no Self-Defense offices in Kesen area.


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