YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan, 17th April, 2016 (WAM)–U.S. forces in Japan are preparing to provide operational airlift in support of the Japanese government’s relief efforts following yesterday’s devastating earthquake near Kumamoto.

“We express our deepest condolences to all of those affected by the recent earthquakes in Kyushu,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. John L. Dolan, commander of U.S. Forces Japan. “We are working closely with the government of Japan to provide assistance and support. To the people of Japan and the region affected by this tragedy, we send our heartfelt sympathies. The men and women of U.S. Forces Japan stand with you during this difficult time.”

The long-standing alliance between Japan and the United States allows U.S. military forces in Japan to provide rapid, integrated support to the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and civil relief efforts, officials said in a news release.

“Our long experience working hand-in-hand with Japanese Self-Defense Forces ensures that our operations are seamless and effective,” the release continued. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Japanese people.”