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韓国岳 Search

The search for Miyata Masaki kun


Hey everyone today I`m going to write about a search Mana and I with the rest of KRDA took part in at the beginning of November. By now the news has faded from the headlines but the events are still fresh in my mind with the final thought of “Japan still has a long f@#!$ way to go”, pardon my French!

From my time in the military our instructors were always yelling at us, “move with a sense of urgency!!”, and that once you get set on a mission don`t stop until that mission is accomplished no matter what it takes. This doesn`t seem to exist in some of the emergency crews of Japan and this last rescue in Ebino has me so angry.

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Miyata Masaki went to hike to the top of Karakuni dake with his parents and grandparents. Just after they started the hike Masaki kun asked to go on ahead and his parents said ok, that was the last time they saw him alive. It was a mistake to let him go on ahead and I`m sure his parents know that now so I`m not going to talk about that mistake any more as they have a long time to reflect on that now. What I want to talk about is the way the search was handled.
I know that the use if Search and Rescue dogs in Japan is still in its infancy so I won`t say anything about that, but my thoughts are of the Professional??? rescue services of Japan.

IMG_8184.jpg Karakuni search area map

Masaki kun went missing at around 15:20 on October 31st he wore a black parka and had a couple rice balls and a pet bottle of juice. Emergency services were called out and conducted a search. Once it started to get dark they called off the search for the night as they didn`t want to risk any injuries. To me I can`t figure this out, a boy is missing with a good chance of him still being alive, why stop the search?

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The weather on Oct 31st on Waita San and the weather on Nov 2nd at Karakuni

The weather on the 31st was beautiful and warm but the weather forecast for the next day was rain and a drop in temperature. It was a full moon that night and to me the Fire, Police and Military are professionals that should be ready to go out in any weather and at any time! How professional are the Japanese rescue services if they can`t search for one boy on a well lit night on a well known trail?

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I know it`s a little unfair compare how things are done here to how things are done in North America but just to give you an idea I copied an excerpt from the National Search and Rescue Association, a volunteer search and rescue society very well known in the U.S. and Canada. It states that, “When someone is reported lost or overdue, volunteer search and rescue (SAR) dog teams are available to respond, day or night, to help in the search effort.” Later on it states,” SAR dog handlers must enjoy working with dogs and being in the outdoors in all kinds of weather.” A search in North America would continue day and night for at least a few days until it was determined that there was little chance of finding the subject alive, then the search would be scaled back but still continue until the body was recovered.

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The skill level of VOLUNTEERS in North America

The Level of PROFESSIONALS in Japan

To sum it up, in North America, volunteer search and rescue teams are available to search day or night in all kinds of weather. If volunteer rescuers are capable of doing this in North America then don`t you think that AT THE VERY LEAST the professional rescue services in Japan should be capable of this as well? If not, what are they getting paid for? Their job is to put their life on the line to rescue someone in distress, that’s the job, the risk of injury or death is always there, if you don`t want to accept that risk find another job because you`re putting others at risk!

The unfortunate but possibly avoidable result of the search was that Masaki kun was found dead at around 1200 on Monday the 2nd of November. The details are not completely clear yet but from what I`ve heard, Masaki kun fell off the side of the trail about 500m from the Onami Ike hut. He fell about 20m and had injuries to his face but he seemed to have survived the fall as he seemed to have moved from where he fell to where he was found, he apparently died of exposure. If these details are true then to me the Japanese Rescue services share responsibility in the death of this boy! If they kept searching that first night they may have found him in time!



2009.11.20 | Comments(4) | Trackback(0) | 救助犬ログ

Rememberance Day

Lest We Forget

remembrance day poppy

Today is Remembrance day, the 11th day of the 11th month is the day set aside to remember all of those who have fallen during war. The reason this day was chosen was because this was the day that the Germans signed the armistice to end the First World War in 1918. Since that time there have been many more battles fought and many more lives lost in the pursuit of freedom and with that the meaning of this day has grown deeper and deeper.

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Josh just before going to Afghanistan and Josh as I knew him at Battle School. He`s on the left with his gut sticking out, always the joker

The meaning of this day took on a way deeper meaning for me on August 9th, 2008 when an army buddy of mine was shot and killed in the Zharey District of Kandahar, Afghanistan. I met Josh Roberts during my Basic Infantry QL 2/3 course at CFB Wainwright, Alberta in 1996.

Our course photo

We were put in the same section. At that time he was 17 and I think still in High School so he was always joking around and doing silly things which always brought a smile to our faces. Even though he would joke around a lot he always took the stuff we were learning and the military seriously and really enjoyed the training and we got along really well. I never saw him again after the training, he went back to his unit in Saskatchewan and I went back to mine in Vancouver.

Josh`s ramp ceremony leaving Afghanistan

After leaving the military and coming to Japan, one day when I was routinely checking the news from back home I was shocked to see the news of his death in a firefight with the Taliban. It left a hole in my heart and what was left was filled with anger, at the Taliban, and also with myself for leaving the army, if I had been there maybe there was something I could have done! Maybe I could have shot that Taliban before he shot Josh! Futile thoughts I know, but still I couldn`t help it.

What also blew me away was to see Josh`s picture, when I knew him he was a lanky kid but the Josh that I saw in the picture was a very impressive, solid man. I was also shocked to read that he left behind a fiancée who was pregnant with his son! Josh, you never got the chance to meet your son but I know he will grow up being very proud of you, as we all are! Rest easy my friend, we will always remember you, and your sacrifice!


2009.11.11 | Comments(2) | Trackback(0) | トピック


Autumn in Oita


Hey everyone, sorry for such a long break between posts as this week has been quite crazy, Mana and I went down to take part in the search of the missing boy on Karakuni Dake last Monday. I`ll write about that in my next posting but today I want to write about a great tour we had to Mt. Waita in Oita near the Kuju mountains.

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The weather was perfect clear blue skies and a nice wind to keep the unexpected heat off. We made our way through the beautiful autumn leaves at the lower part of the mountain until we came into the vast Susukino fields and huge scenery. After a short break about halfway we made our final assault to the summit and lunch!

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In Japanese we use the phrase “waita” to describe when something is boiling and strange as it may seem to most people I always wanted to say that I boiled water on Mt. Waita, “Waita San no ue de mizu ga waita”. Well on this day I got my chance as I boiled water for our yummy pasta lunch! I know, I know “hen na gaijin”, oh well that’s me!!

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After lunch we worked our way down the mountain to the parking lot, look at the bridge I had to cross to park! No wonder everyone got out of the truck first!! We enjoyed a beautiful sunset, with the mountain we just climbed providing the backdrop, before heading to my favorite Gyoza restaurant in Hita for dinner!
A great day with great people and great food! What more could a guy ask for!

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Until next time stay fit, safe and happy trails. Stay tuned for my next blog about the SAR callout to Karakuni dake coming in the next couple days!

2009.11.06 | Comments(0) | Trackback(0) | ツアーレポート

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