A disaster response team comprised of more than 80 Japanese soldiers and civilian disaster experts have arrived in Australia to provide help as the bushfire crisis rages on.
Two planes landed at the Richmond Airforce Base in Sydney’s West on Thursdays laden with medical supplies that included face masks for firefighters.
The two JASDF C-130 Hercules transport planes would be a “vital” part to help in the fight against the bushfires, according to Air Commodore Carl Newman from the Royal Australian Air Force.
“The additional C130s that the Japanese have brought will be vital in helping us out,” Newman said.
“It’s a true reflection of friends supporting each other in crisis and we truly appreciate it.”
For Japan, it was a way to pay back Australia’s own response to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of Japan.
Following the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that had claimed nearly 2,000 lives, Australia sent military personnel to Japan to provide assistance.
Colonel Ota Masahi of the Japan Self Defense Force said that his country had not forgotten Australia’s support during their time of need.
“We never forget what Australia did at that time,” he said.
Japan is only one of a growing list of countries that have offered to help Australia deal with the blazes.
Earlier this month, more than 200 US firefighters landed in Sydney to join their brethren fighting the bushfires.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also announced earlier this month that the country would send their own firefighters to help with the blazes.
Canada, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea have also offered their support.
All these offers of support are heartwarming gestures of friendship among nations to a crisis whose effects are not limited to Australia alone. Smoke from the bushfires can drift over to other countries and the economic impact of the crisis cannot be discounted. With the world’s economy so interconnected, anything that happens in one country will eventually ripple over to other nations.