CAMP FOSTER, Japan, Oct. 4 (UPI) — The U.S. Defense Department paid nearly $35 million to evacuate military families after Japan’s March earthquake and Fukushima nuclear crisis, records indicate.
Some 9,000 American dependents at bases in central and northern Japan chose to return to the United States and a handful of other countries where their lodging and daily expenses were paid for by the U.S. government, Stars and Stripes reported Tuesday.
“We made a decision based on what we had at the time,” said Maj. Neal Fisher of U.S. Forces Japan. “We are always going to error on the side of safety especially when it comes to service members and their families.”
Airfare out of Japan, including military-chartered flights, cost the Defense Department about $14 million while living expenses during the evacuation added another $20 million, U.S. Forces Japan and the Department of Defense press office said.
The voluntary evacuation order lasted one month but some military families chose to remain in the United States longer in order to allow their children to finish the school year.