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Little youngsters’ moving gesture has us ready to cry big old tears.

While the name of the Japan Self-Defense Forces shows that the organization’s original purpose is to protect the country from military aggression, there doesn’t have to be an imminent invasion for the men and women of the JSDF to spring into action. As we’ve looked at before, disaster relief is a major part of the JSDF’s role.

In the week since Kumamoto Prefecture was hit by powerful earthquakes, Self-Defense Force personnel have become common sights in the affected communities, where they’ve been distributing food and setting up temporary lodging and bathing facilities for those unable to return home following the quakes, either because the buildings were destroyed or the roads leading to them are unusable.

In normal circumstances, the JSDF keeps a pretty low profile, so seeing the organization doing such humanitarian work has been enlightening to those who might have imagined its members spent all day doing nothing but shooting rifles for target practice. Especially, some children from the town of Nishihara, which suffered extensive damage, were moved by the JSDF members’ tireless efforts to help them in their time of need, and decided to express their gratitude in the best way they know how: adorable handmade awards.

The official Twitter account of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces recently shared these two photos of hand-written messages staff in Kumamoto received. The first reads:

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Hard Work Commendation

This commendation is awarded to all of you for working so hard to cook food for us and build us a bath.

This commendation was written by the children of Nishihara
April 19, 2016

Sure, the handwriting gets a little spotty in parts, but the pure-hearted sentiment, plus the stylish Kumamon frame, really show that a lot of thought went into the certificate.

Moving on to the second award:

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To everyone from the Self-Defense Forces,

Thank you very much for your continuing kindness in making rice and miso soup for us. The bathwater is also warm and feels very good. I think you are very kind, and very cool. I respect you all for working so hard until late at night. Please keep doing your best.

Like many similar organizations, the JSDF itself bestows awards upon members who have performed exemplary service in times of crises, and we’re sure several of the men and women currently deployed to Kumamoto will be receiving one when their work there is done. Still, we think that in their hearts, the two certificates shown here will be as meaningful as any of the shiny official medals that might be coming their way.

Top image: Twitter/@JGSDF_pr (edited by RocketNews24)
Insert images: Twitter/@JGSDF_pr
[ Read in Japanese ]