The Washington Post

How the U.S. government is helping Japan

Several elements of the federal government are responding to the Japanese earthquake by deploying personnel and observing the response from Washington. Here’s a department-by-department breakdown of agency activities as of Monday afternoon.


All U.S. government personnel in Japan are accounted for, according to the State Department. U.S. citizens in Japan in need of emergency assistance, or people seeking information on the whereabouts of friends, family or colleagues, should send an e-mail to

John V. Roos, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, is making regular use of his Twitter account (@AmbassadorRoos) to share information and official government statements:

The United States stands ready to help our greatest friend and ally during this time of great need.less than a minute ago via HootSuiteJohn V. Roos


The federal agency chiefly responsible for assisting foreign governments with disaster response has deployed urban search-and-rescue teams from Fairfax, Va., and Los Angeles to Japan. The rescue teams, which also deployed to Haiti after last year’s quake, include about 150 personnel and 12 dogs trained to find live victims.

USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team is also in Japan coordinating the U.S. government’s response.

Blog updates:

On Twitter: @USAID


The Japanese government has formally requested U.S. assistance in responding to nuclear plant cooling issues, and the NRC is considering ways to respond, the agency said Monday.

Two of the agency’s boiling-water reactor experts deployed with the USAID response team to provide technical assistance to Japanese officials. Agency officials are also monitoring developments from its Rockville headquarters.

The NRC is led by a five-member commission and crafts the nation's nuclear policies and regulations. It has said that the steps taken thus far by Japanese officials are in line with what they would have done if U.S. nuclear plants were similarly affected.

It will not comment on the specifics of the Japanese response, however. “This is an ongoing crisis for the Japanese who have primary responsibility,” the agency said in a statement.


The U.S. military has about 50,000 personnel stationed in Japan, many of whom are already providing disaster assistance.

The Navy has P-3 Orion aircraft flying to help survey the wreckage and spot potential survivors.

The U.S.S. Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is operating off the east coast of the island of Honshu, with more ships on the way, according to the Pentagon.

The U.S.S. Tortuga, which contains MH-53 heavy-lift helicopters, is also headed to the east coast of Japan to provide assistance. It is carrying 90 Japanese Self-Defense Force vehicles and personnel.

Other U.S. ships are expected to arrive in the area by Thursday, the Defense Department said.

No U.S. bases are in the danger zone for radioactivity, and there are no plans to evacuate any U.S. personnel or their families, according to Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan.

Online: U.S. military responds to the Japanese earthquake (

RELATED: Washington Post coverage of the Japanese earthquake

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.


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