Two Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) C-130s planes arrived at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Richmon on the outskirts of Sydney on Thursday to assist in fighting unprecedented and deadly bush fires across the country. The Japan Self-Defense Force is pleased to be able to reciprocate the military support Australia provided to Japan following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan. The Royal RAAF deployed many military aircraft to support Japan’s recovery and that was a great help for the JASDF.
The two C-130 transport planes, carrying 70 Self-Defense Forces personnel, roughly 60 kilometers northwest of Sydney, to join eight SDF members already in Australia. The Japan Self-Defense Force personnel received orders to deploy and help Australia, his team has worked exceptionally quickly to come and support Australia, in whatever small way possible. While specific details of how and where the personnel will assist Australian military efforts are still being decided, they are expected to be deployed across the states of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia as needed.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel regularly assist in disaster relief overseas, it is “very rare” to receive support from international partners. Twenty-eight people have died in the fires, which have been burning across southeast Australia since September. It is estimated that well over 10 million hectares of land have been razed and over 1 billion animals killed. The Japan Self-Defense Force joins a large international contingent assisting Australia in fighting the fires including military forces from New Zealand, Singapore and Papua New Guinea.
The bushfire crisis is the Australian Defence Force’s main effort. More than 6500 full-time and reserve personnel are providing direct support in the field, at sea, in the air and from Defence bases across fire-affected regions. ADF efforts are also being supported by more than 300 international military representatives. The following personnel are in support: 90 New Zealand Defence Force members, 100 Papua New Guinea Defence Force members, almost 50 Republic of Singapore Air Force members and 70 Japan Self-Defense Force members. ADF personnel have been working with state and territory authorities since September 2019 to respond to Australia’s bushfire crisis.