Okinawa, US leaders discuss cooperation
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa, Japan -- Hirofumi Takeda, the director general of the Okinawa Defense Bureau, met with senior U.S. military leaders Feb. 14 on Camp Foster to discuss the purpose and functions of the ODB and how it works with the U.S. military.
The ODB is the Japan Ministry of Defense’s local office on Okinawa, tasked with conducting liaison activities with the U.S. military to contribute to the U.S.-Japan security alliance.
“(Takeda’s) responsibilities and mission are critical for everyone in this room and revolve around maintaining positive relations with the military,” said Maj. Gen. Peter J. Talleri, the commanding general of Marine Corps Installations Pacific and Marine Corps Base Camp Butler. “He ensures the integration and story (of our work) is told in such a way that it is highly transparent and that information is very forthright, so his staff can take on their responsibilities to make sure our two countries are doing the very best to contribute to our alliance.”
Takeda began his discussion by reinforcing the importance of U.S. forces to the U.S.-Japan alliance.
“I deeply appreciate this valuable opportunity to talk to the leaders of the Marine Corps,” said Takeda. “I have wanted to have the opportunity to speak with the leaders, so I asked Major General Talleri for this favor. I am very pleased to find myself here today. I would like to express my deep respect and gratitude to you for your deep devotion to the mission here in Japan. The presence of U.S. forces is critical to ensuring peace and security in Japan, as well as internationally, and is very important.”
Takeda spoke to the leaders about the many challenges and issues he and his staff encounter on a daily basis.
“Obviously, challenges do occur from time to time,” said Talleri. “They can range from incidents to decisions on what equipment is forward–based for U.S. forces on Okinawa. These are the types of issues his staff works on closely with the U.S. military and the consulate general’s office.”
Upon conclusion of Takeda’s remarks, Talleri expressed his hopes that discussions will take place again and made clear he wants to continue to facilitate direct communication to help resolve the many issues the ODB faces.
“I think it is great for us to work together through exchanges like this,” said Talleri. “The director general can get a good sense of what things are on our minds, many of which we will work with him and his staff on, so it is important we maintain an open dialogue so we can share these kinds of discussions to ultimately enhance our ability to work together on important issues.”