Story by Sgt Robert Sweet on 05/18/2018Councillor Yamada Hiroshi, Japan Diet Upper House Member, met with U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. David H. Berger at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, April 30, 2018 to discuss the regional security environment and how the United States and Japan can better work together.
As the Commander of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces in the Pacific, Berger is responsible for assuring littoral access to the joint force command and responding to crises in the Indo-Pacific region. In his meeting with Yamada, who was elected to the House of Councillors in 2016 as a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, both men reinforced the need to uphold the international community's commitment to international law and freedom of navigation. Berger also lauded the establishment of the Japanese Self-Defense Force's Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade as a significant advancement in Japan's ability to defend its own territory as well as contribute to peace and security throughout the Indo-Pacific.
Following his meeting with Berger, Yamada visited U.S. Navy Adm. Harry Harris, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, where they discussed the respective forces' roles, missions, and capabilities to ensure the alliance is always ready to carry out its mission to protect Japan and to maintain peace and stability in the region.
"The ability of the United States to be a deterrent in the Indo-Pacific region, to be able to project power, to be seen as relevant is based on the U.S.-Japan alliance," said Col. Jonathan C. Goff, U.S. Marine Corps liaison to the Japan Self-Defense Forces, who accompanied Mr. Yamada to the meetings. "It is our forward-deployed location and the synergy between having the number three economy in the world, by some accounts, and largest democracy in Asia and the United States together means countries are worried about us being here."
Yamada then paid a visit to military units stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe Bay, where he toured a MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and AAV-P7/A1 assault amphibious vehicle, and met Marines who will soon be deploying to the western Pacific.
"As the Marine Corps' principal Air Ground Task Force training location in the mid-Pacific, Marine Corps Base Hawaii valued the discussions with Councillor Yamada on his country's interest in amphibious capabilities and training," said Col. Raul Lianez, Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Base Hawaii. "His recent engagement with the Marines of MCBH reflects the long standing strength of the Japan-U.S. Alliance and its future."
Goff further elaborated that shared amphibious capabilities enable a wide range of military activities. With the finalization of the ARDB, and the future procurement of additional AAV-7s, Japan Self-Defense Forces will be capable of posturing and mobilizing forces expeditiously to defend its remote islands while responding to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief crises. "The MV-22B Osprey enhances the response time of both offensive and defensive capabilities, shortening the time from days to a matter of hours. Working together with the Japanese helps ensure a multi-lateral military response will mitigate the consequences of crises in the Indo-Pacific."
"The degree to which the Marine Corps is ready to meet challenges levels of training and levels of engagement allows MARFORPAC to be ready for potential, or current, pacing threats. The forward-deployed posture of U.S. troops on Okinawa and mainland Japan contributes to the defense of Japan and regional security," he stated.