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    MARINE CORPS CELEBRATES JAPANESE RETIREES' SERVICE / 日本人退職者の労をねぎらう在沖海兵隊

    MARINE CORPS CELEBRATES JAPANESE RETIREES' SERVICE

    Photo By Yoshie Makiyama | Retiring Japanese base employees attend the retirement ceremony.... read more read more

    OKINAWA, JAPAN

    09.12.2022

    Story by Yoshie Makiyama 

    Marine Corps Installations Pacific

    An old annual tradition is back. After a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, the Marine Corps in Okinawa held a retirement ceremony for their Japanese base employees, June 3, to recognize their years of service and achievement to the Marine Corps.

    Until December 2019, ceremonies took place twice annually in June and December at the Butler Officers Club on Plaza Housing. However, as mitigation measures increased against COVID-19, ceremonies were suspended.

    This year, after the ease of the COVID-19 restrictions, the face-to-face ceremony was resumed.

    “With the decrease in physical presence limitations, we searched for ways to conduct the ceremony again while exercising preventive measures of COVID-19, such as eliminating the luncheon after the ceremony. Having the ceremony at the Community Center was the best option,” said Mutsumi Yamauchi Buhler, an employee service administrator at the Civilian Human Resources Office, who organized the event.

    Even during the pandemic, CHRO created and provided the certificates of appreciation signed by the commanding general to each retiree, according to Yamauchi. Instead of a ceremony, management presented the certificates to the retirees at appropriate occasions.

    At the long awaited ceremony, Maj. Gen. William J. Bowers, former commanding general of Marine Corps Installations Pacific, along with Masanori Yamashiro, labor management officer of Okinawa Defense Bureau, and branch chief of Labor Management Organization, and Ryan S. Stamp, Director, Civilian Human Resource Office, MCIPAC, offered their congratulations after the national anthems of both the U.S. and Japan.

    Bowers expressed his appreciation to 49 retirees who have served Marine Corps Installations Pacific on Okinawa with a combined 1,283 years of service; which calculates to an average length of service of 26 years and two months per retiree. The longest term of service was 37 years and one month, by an individual who worked as an administrative specialist in the Operations Division, Provost Marshal’s Office.

    “We have gathered here today to celebrate your retirement,” Bowers said.

    “MCIPAC is better because we have you on our team. During the challenges brought by the COVID pandemic, many of you worked long hard hours to ensure our Marines and their families were taken care of. Your sacrifice and dedication has not gone unnoticed and from the bottom of my heart…Thank you!”

    The commanding general then handed a certificate to each retiree.

    Noriko Hanashiro, a full time food service employee at the Food Services Branch, Camp Courtney, has worked at the Mess Hall for the last seven years. For about 10 years prior to the Mess Hall, she worked part-time at Kadena Air Base as a contracted custodian at a Child Care Development Center.

    “I wanted to be hired as a Master Labor Contract employee and had applied for a long time,” Hanashiro said. “MLC means you get a stable salary, better work conditions and good employee benefits.”

    Hanashiro was happy working at the mess hall and said the work environment was good and no particular troubles were recalled. “I want to stay healthy and continue to work hard,” she said, looking at the next five years to come.

    MLC or Indirect Hire Agreement employees at age 60 will reach mandatory retirement on June 30 and Dec. 31 each year; however, most retirees request to be rehired and continue to work after their retirement as post retirement employees.

    According to the Labor Management Organization for U.S. Forces Japan employees, as of March 2022, about 9,000 Japanese are working on the military bases in Okinawa, a little over 3,000 are on Marine Corps bases alone.

     毎年恒例の伝統式典が帰ってきた。在沖米海兵隊は、6月3日、2年半ぶりに日本人基地従業員の海兵隊への長年の勤労と功績を称える定年退職者感謝状授与式を開催した。

     これまでも式典は2019年12月まで、毎年6月と12月の年2回、プラザ住宅地区のバトラー将校クラブで行われていた。しかし、新型コロナ感染症により、ここしばらくセレモニー開催は見送られてきた。

     今年は、コロナの状況が比較的落ち着いてきたため、対面での式典が再開されることとなった。

     「行動制限緩和を受け、式典後の懇親会をなくすなど、コロナ感染対策を実施しながら再び授与式を行う方法を模索した結果、コミュニティーセンターでの開催が最適だと判断しました」と、主催した在沖米海兵隊民間人人事部従業員功労管理職のビューラー山内むつみさんは話す。

     山内さんによると、コロナ禍でも、民間人人事部は米海兵隊太平洋基地司令官の署名入りの感謝状を作成し、退職者一人一人に渡したという。式典こそ行われなかったが、上司が適切な機会に退職者に感謝状を贈呈した。

     待ちに待った式典では、日米両国の国歌斉唱の後、沖縄防衛局労務管理官及び労務管理機構支部長、在沖米海兵隊民間人人事部長とともに壇上に立った米海兵隊太平洋基地司令官ウィリアム・J・バワーズ少将が祝辞を述べた。

     バワーズ少将は、平均勤続年数26年2カ月、総勤続年数1283年の49名の退職者に感謝の意を表した。最も長く勤めたのは、憲兵隊の業務部で管理専門職として勤務していた一名で、勤続年数は37年と1カ月だ。

     「私たちは今日、皆さまの退職を祝福するためにここに集まりました」と少将。「米海兵隊太平洋基地がより良いものとなったのもひとえに皆さんのおかげです。コロナ感染症の流行による困難の中、皆さんの多くは、海兵隊員とその家族のために長い間懸命に働いてくれました。皆さんの犠牲と献身は決して忘れ去られることはありません。心より感謝します。」

     その後、司令官から退職者一人一人に感謝状が手渡された。

     フードサービス部のフードサービスワーカーとしてキャンプ・コートニーの隊員食堂で働いた花城のり子さんは、基地従業員正規雇用者になって7年と1ヶ月間だ。まだ10年に満たないが、嘉手納空軍基地では約10年間、保育園の清掃員として派遣労働者として働いていたことがある。

     「基地従業員として正式に採用されたいと思い、ずっと応募していました。基本労務契約従業員は、安定した給与、より良い労働条件、充実した福利厚生を得ることができるからです」と、花城さんは基地従業員への思いを述べた。

     隊員食堂での職に満足しており、職場環境も良好で、特にトラブルも思い当たらないと、花城さんは話す。「これからもいつまでも元気で頑張りたい」と、これからの5年を見据えた。

     60歳に達した基本労務契約従業員(MLC)や間接雇用契約従業員(IHA)は、毎年6月30日と12月31日に定年を迎えるが、ほとんどの定年退職者は定年後再雇用され、引き続き定年後就労者として働き続ける。

     在日米軍従業員労務管理機構によると、2022年3月時点での沖縄の米軍基地で働く日本人は約9、000人弱で、海兵隊基地だけでは3、000人以上にのぼるという。

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 09.12.2022
    Date Posted: 10.02.2022 19:50
    Story ID: 430446
    Location: OKINAWA, JP

    Web Views: 47
    Downloads: 0

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