LA fire deputy in Fukushima on second anniversary of Japan earthquake and tsunami

Los Angeles Fire Department Deputy Chief David Yamahata is in Japan for a week to build relationships with Japanese leaders as part of the Japanese-American Leadership Delegation.
Los Angeles Fire Department Deputy Chief David Yamahata is in Japan for a week to build relationships with Japanese leaders as part of the Japanese-American Leadership Delegation. COURTESY OF U.S.-JAPAN COUNCIL

Monday marks the second anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that killed nearly 16,000 people in Japan.

Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Deputy David Yamahata will spend a few days in the northern Japanese city of Fukushima—one of the hardest hit areas—to meet with and learn from those who went through the disaster.

"Specifically, the fire department or law enforcement and try and gain some insight in terms of some of the challenges that they dealt with," he said. "Probably even more important is the things that they’re doing today to try and bring back everything that was so completely devastated."

Fukushima and the surrounding area was hit with a triple punch: the earthquake that shattered buildings, the tsunami that swept away structures along the coast and far inland, and the radiation leaks from the crippled Daiichi nuclear plant.

Yamahata, a 35-year veteran of the LAFD, is the department's Emergency Operations Commander.

This is his first time in Japan. He’s there as part of this year’s Japanese-American Leadership Delegation. The program brings 10 prominent Japanese-Americans to Japan for a week to help build relationships with Japanese leaders.

The program is run by the U.S.- Japan Council and the Japanese government foots the bill for the trip.

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