Yama Sakura 59 kicks off in Japan

| February 4, 2011 | 0 Comments
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Commanders inspect U.S. and JGSDF service members during the YS 59 opening ceremony, Jan. 27, at Camp Kengun, Japan. (Courtesy photo)

Sgt. Christopher M. Gaylord
5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

 

CAMP KENGUN, Japan — Yama Sakura 59, a scenario-based bilateral training exercise focused on improving military-to-military relationships and interoperability, officially began Jan. 27, during opening ceremonies, here.

The command post exercise underscores America’s commitment to Japan’s defense, in accordance with a mutual defense treaty that was implemented in 1951 and revised in 1960.

The premier bilateral training event for U.S. Army-Pacific, YS 59 enables U.S. Soldiers to collaborate with units from one of five regions in the Japan Ground Self Defense Force, each year.

This year, USARPAC and the JGSDF’s western army will respond to a simulated scenario in which Japan must counterattack an enemy force that plans to isolate Kyushu, the country’s most southern island.

 

U.S. and JGSDF service members stand in formation during the Yama Sakura 59 opening ceremony, Jan. 27, at Camp Kengun, Japan. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. and JGSDF service members stand in formation during the Yama Sakura 59 opening ceremony, Jan. 27, at Camp Kengun, Japan. (Courtesy photo)

During YS 59’s opening ceremony, Lt. Gen. Shunzo Kizaki, commander, JGSDF western army, stressed the importance of the annual exercise in collaborating best practices between the two forces.

“I believe Yama Sakura is the best venue for us to improve joint and bilateral operations capabilities with the well-experienced U.S. forces,” Kizaki said.

Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander, USARPAC, agreed.

“Since its inception in 1982, Yama Sakura has focused on the development and reinforcement of bilateral planning, cooperation and interoperability of the (JGSDF) and the U.S.,” Mixon said. “Now in its 29th year, this bilateral exercise improves mutual capabilities, reinforces ties and strengthens mutual support and friendship.

Command Sgt. Maj. Mary Brown (right), command sergeant major, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, USARPAC, puts together a floral arrangement during a class on Japanese flower arranging, Jan. 21, at Camp Kengun, Japan. (Courtesy photo)

Command Sgt. Maj. Mary Brown (right), command sergeant major, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, USARPAC, puts together a floral arrangement during a class on Japanese flower arranging, Jan. 21, at Camp Kengun, Japan. (Courtesy photo)

Command Sgt. Maj. Mary Brown (right), command sergeant major, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, USARPAC, puts together a floral arrangement during a class on Japanese flower arranging, Jan. 21, at Camp Kengun, Japan. (Courtesy photo)

“This exercise also underscores a continuous commitment by the U.S. and Japan to work shoulder-to-shoulder as dedicated partners in support of the U.S. and Japan security alliance, and for peace and stability,” he added.

Kizaki said for the operation to be a success, he expects JGSDF troops to “share mutual understanding and build confidence with each other to accomplish our mission as one team.”

Yama Sakura is designed to enhance America’s and Japan’s combat readiness and interoperability, while strengthening bilateral relationships and demonstrating America’s resolve to support the security interests of friends and allies in the region. U.S. and Japanese forces exchange ideas, techniques and military experiences during Yama Sakura.

Roughly 1,500 U.S. and 4,500 JGSDF Soldiers will participate in the exercise.

U.S. units include USARPAC — the largest Army Service Component Command, which provides a cost-effective and powerful headquarters that supports Asia and Pacific forces.

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Category: Deployed Forces, Exercises, News

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