INTERVIEW: Operation Tomodachi "Shining Example" of Alliance

Politics Society Lifestyle

Washington, March 6 (Jiji Press)--John Roos, U.S. ambassador to Japan at the time of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, has reflected on the U.S. military-led Operation Tomodachi disaster relief mission and its significance in bringing closer people in the two countries.

Operation Tomodachi was "a massive humanitarian success" and "a shining example of the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance," Roos said in an interview with Jiji Press ahead of the 10th anniversary of the disaster that struck mainly the northeastern Japan Tohoku region on March 11, 2011.

Roos, 66, was in a meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo when the temblor struck. He went out into the embassy's parking lot and amid aftershocks informed the Department of State and the White House of the event.

"We began to see on cellphones pictures of the tsunami," he remembers. "And shortly after, probably 20 minutes or so in our time in the parking lot, we were informed that there was a nuclear incident occurring at Fukushima."

The natural disaster triggered the nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. <9501> in Fukushima Prefecture, part of Tohoku.

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