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NEWS | Aug. 26, 2022

U.S. Army Japan Commanding General visits Northern Army; builds relationships to increase interoperability

By Maj. Devon Thomas, U.S. Army Japan

CAMP ZAMA, JAPAN--U.S. Army Maj. Gen. J. B. Vowell, Commanding General of U.S. Army Japan, traveled to Hokkaido, Japan, Aug. 22-24.

Vowell met with the Commanding General of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) Northern Army, Lt. Gen. Yoshihiko Okimura, and Director General Saburo Ishikura from the Hokkaido Defense Bureau to discuss future security cooperation and bilateral training opportunities.

"Our most important mission is to partner with the JGSDF. Japan is our anchoring frontline ally in the region. Our relationship is crucial to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific," Vowell said.

Vowell also toured the Northern Army Yausubetsu Training Area with Lt. Gen. Hiroe Jiro, the commander of the JGSDF Training Evaluation Research and Development Command, their training and education headquarters.

Yausubetsu provides opportunities for ground forces to perform bilateral maneuver and live fire training in an Arctic environment. The U.S. Army conducted its first HIMARS live-fire in Japan in June 2021 at the training area during the annual bilateral Orient Shield exercise.

Vowell also met with Principal Official Mark Wuebbels at the U.S. Consulate General in Sapporo to discuss opportunities to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry Dodson, the U.S. Army Japan Command Sergeant Major, visited senior enlisted leaders during the trip. He participated in a senior enlisted exchange with leaders from the JGSDF Ground Staff Office and the Northern Army.

"Through increased interoperability, information sharing and expanded access across the region, we present a credible and interoperable deterrent force to the adversary in competition, crisis and conflict," Vowell said.