DoD Family Pets Being Evacuated From Japan, Civilian Teachers Told They Must Stay

I have a friend who is a teacher. A few years back he got the opportunity of a lifetime, one of his dreams come true: he got invited by the DoDDS (the Department of Defense Dependents Schools) to come work for them, teaching dependents of military personnel on military bases around the world. He was ecstatic when he got chosen for the job. He spent, I believe, the first two years in Germany, and then last year they moved him to Japan.

When the tsunami hit I was a little freaked out until I heard from him that he was ok. Then the issues started to happen with the nuclear reactors and I and a few other people started to worry again. On Thursday, March 17th I saw this on Facebook:

we are being evacuated. i should be stateside by tuesday. they’ll put us to work at base schools somewhere, not sure where. don’t know if or when i’ll be back in japan. it’s possible i’ll never see the contents of my home again, and i can only bring 1 suitcase. imagine that.

Myself and everyone that knows him was so relieved, until the next day:

teachers are being told we are “essential personnel” and therefore NOT part of the voluntary evacuation. we have no idea what’s going on. but for now, i am safe and warm.

I was like, wtf? Essential to what? Why the hell would they force the teachers to stay behind? What’s more, it looks like families of military personnel have a better chance of bringing their pets than the teachers have of getting out of there:

The teachers of our military families’ children on military bases in Japan are not being allowed to evacuate with everyone else! Schools on the bases are closed, but their jobs are being threatened if they leave on their own. Meanwhile, evacuees can bring 2 pets.

From the Stars and Stripes story, “Navy posts Q&A about ongoing voluntary departure in Japan”:


Horses, fish, birds, and rodents are not authorized transportation. Nor teachers.


“Horses, fish, birds, and rodents are not authorized transportation.” – nor, apparently, are teachers.

I don’t get it. I also don’t get why, as far as I can tell, Stars and Stripes is the only one talking about this:


No news on DODDS teachers hired in the U.S. told to stay in Japan


No CNN, no New York Times, no Washington Post, no Huffington Post, no BBC even… no one seems to want to carry this story. Why?

My prayers go out to everyone in Japan right now, but especially to those who are being told they are not allowed to leave.

3 thoughts on “DoD Family Pets Being Evacuated From Japan, Civilian Teachers Told They Must Stay”

  1. This doesn’t make sense. I guess teachers have free will whereas the pets don’t. But there is still some messed up logic here.

Leave a Comment