Junior Chamber International Japan visits Camp Foster
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- The Japan-U.S. alliance was formed decades ago. Understanding the alliance is vital to understanding the delicate balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region.
More than 100 members of the Junior Chamber International Japan visited Camp Foster June 28 to increase their understanding of the alliance and the Marine Corps.
The JCI-Japan is based on the three principles of discipline, service and fellowship. With the goal of creating a brighter future, the members sponsor volunteer activities and actively work to resolve societal issues.
The purpose of the JCI-Japan members’ visit was to learn about the U.S. military’s mission and role in the region, as well as the relationship between U.S. forces and the Japan Self-Defense Force members, according to Kaori Martinez, the community relations officer for G-7, government and external affairs, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. The information helps the JCI-Japan members better understand Japan-U.S. relations, national defense and diplomacy in regard to the future of Japan.
Robert D. Eldridge, the deputy assistant chief of staff for G-7, government and external affairs, MCIPAC, presented the information to the members, which focused on the Marine Corps’ role in the Asia-Pacific region, and the value it places on the Japan-U.S. alliance.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about the military bases on Okinawa and in mainland Japan,” said Daisaku Bessho, a chairman for the Global Leader Development Commission, JCI-Japan. “After receiving this lecture, I learned that the Japan-U.S. alliance is not only important for those two countries, but for the region.”
As potential future leaders of Japan, the junior members attended the brief knowing that understanding the Japan-U.S. alliance would be vital information for their potential future careers, according to Eldridge.
“During the brief, I try to break everything down as fundamentally as I can,” said Eldridge. “I have to get rid of all the common misconceptions that the people have about the Marine Corps and the alliance and start from the beginning. I begin the brief discussing the location of Okinawa. I then delve into great detail about how each base on Okinawa supports the III Marine Expeditionary Force and how important III MEF is to the alliance.”
Presentations like this are given to members of the Japanese community upon request, according to Martinez.
“We always welcome these kinds of requests because they set up the local community for success by explaining to them the mission of the Marine Corps and the important role it plays in the region,” said Martinez.
The junior members began their exploration of the Japan-U.S. alliance by first visiting the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force base in Naha and receiving a similar brief on June 27.
After concluding Camp Foster’s presentation, the members also toured Kadena Air Base to learn about the Air Force’s role in the region.
“The Asia-Pacific region is an unstable area in regards to disasters and territorial issues,” said Eldridge. “By educating people about the Marine Corps’ role, they will understand that the U.S. and its allied countries are working together to establish peace and prosperity in the region. I always stress to those who visit, the value the Marine Corps places in its relationship with Japan.”
While the presentation lasted approximately an hour, the information learned proved invaluable, according to Bessho.
“I enjoyed learning more about the alliance and feel better prepared to answer any questions my peers may have,” said Bessho.