On July 14, JASH sponsored a luncheon with visiting U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission James P. Zumwalt. Mr. Zumwalt was in Honolulu on a private visit and agreed to speak with members of JASH and the community about the U.S. government response to the March 11 earthquake in Japan. The event was co-sponsored with East-West Center, Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, and the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce. About 80 attendees listened to James Zumwalt describe the U.S. response to the tragic March 11 earthquake, tsunami, and the consequences of damage to the Fukushima Nuclear Plant.
Mr. Zumwalt described the immediate actions taken by the U.S. Ambassador John Roos and staff at the U.S. Embassy, to include setting up a crisis response center for contacting and locating Americans in the affected region as well as responding to requests for information. Mr. Zumwalt’s wife, Ann Kambara, accompanied Mr. Zumwalt and discussed her volunteer efforts at the U.S. Embassy’s crisis response center as well as visits to the affected region.
Following his detailed presentation, Mr. Zumwalt fielded questions from the audience. Japan National Defense Academy’s Colonel Yoshitomi Nozomu who was in Hawaii to conduct research on the U.S. government response asked how the U.S. response had been and whether it was difficult coordinating the response with the Japanese government. Mr. Zumwalt replied that U.S. was in a supporting role and that the Japanese government, to include its defense forces, was leading the response effort. Mr. Zumwalt compared the overall response to the U.S. response and confusion following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and cautioned those who might be tempted to judge the Japanese crisis in isolation.
Those interested in seeing Mr. Zumwalt’s presentation can view it here.This presentation is 1.2MB so may take a while to download. You will need Adobe Reader to view.