News Icon

News: Yama Sakura 61 begins with opening ceremony

Story by Staff Sgt. Fredrick VarneySmall RSS IconSubscriptions Icon Send Personnel Newswire Invite

Bilateral press conference Yama Sakura 61 Staff Sgt. Fredrick Varney

U.S. Army Pacific Commander Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski and Middle Army Commander of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force Lt. Gen. Ryuichiro Arakawa shake hands during the bilateral press conference Yama Sakura 61 Jan. 30.

CAMP ITAMI, Japan –- Yama Sakura 61, an annual bilateral exercise with the Japan Ground Self Defense Force and U.S. Army Pacific officially began, Jan. 30, at Camp Itami, Japan.

The Yama Sakura exercise is a simulation-driven joint bilateral command post exercise designed to enhance U.S. and Japan combat readiness and interoperability while strengthening bi-lateral relationships.

U.S. military members and Japan Ground Self Defense Force members are afforded the opportunity to exchange ideas, tactics, techniques, and military experiences in order to ensure the defense of Japan and support security interests in the region.

Each year the exercise location rotates between the five regional armies of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force. The Middle Army, based in Camp Itami, is hosting this year’s Yama Sakura 61.

Objectives of Yama Sakura 61 include training U.S. ground forces for deployment to Japan in the event of contingencies, as well as exercising joint capabilities in the defense of Japan.

Since 1982, Yama Sakura has focused on the development and refinement of the JGSDF and U.S. Army Pacific’s efforts in the areas of bilateral planning, coordination and interoperability through training.

During the opening ceremony, U.S. Army Pacific Commander Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Middle Army Commander Lt. Gen. Ryuichiro Arakawa, both stressed the importance of the annual bilateral exercise.

“Yama Sakura is a premier exercise for U.S. Army Pacific,” said Wiercinski. “Every year we improve our strong bi-lateral partnerships and this year is no exception.”

Arakawa said Yama Sakura 61 is the largest exercise where the Japan Ground Self Defense Force and U.S. Army Pacific can train their mutual coordination through bilateral command and staff activities.

“Yama Sakura is the first bilateral Army Command Post Exercise after the Great East Japan Earthquake,” said Arakawa. “We closely cooperated with the U.S. military through such command post activities during the disaster relief operation.”

For the first time in the history of Yama Sakura, members from the Australian Defense Force are observing the command post exercise.

More than 800 U.S. military personnel and over 3,500 Japan Ground Self-Defense Force personnel are participating in YS61.

Connected Media
ImagesBilateral press...
U.S. Army Pacific Commander Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski...
ImagesAerial view of Yama...
Yama Sakura 61 initiates with an opening ceremony with...
ImagesSenior officers of...
Senior officers of the units participating in Yama...

Web Views

Podcast Hits

Public Domain Mark
This work, Yama Sakura 61 begins with opening ceremony, by SSG Fredrick Varney, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:01.30.2012

Date Posted:01.30.2012 08:52



  • Army
  • Marines
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • National Guard




  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Flickr