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NEWS | Dec. 14, 2022

Yama Sakura 83 enhances security interests of allies and partners in Indo-Pacific

By Spc. Richard Carlisi U.S. Army Japan

U.S. Army and Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF) wrapped up Yama Sakura 83 (YS 83), an annual bilateral exercise designed to increase joint force lethality, enhance design and posture, strengthen alliances and partnerships, exercises, experimentation and innovation while focusing on multi-domain and cross-domain operations.

“We have learned much from each other over the course of YS 83,” said Lt. Gen. Xavier Brunson, commanding general of America’s First Corps. “We have built stronger personal bonds, developed human, procedural, and technical interoperability between our two forces, strengthening our more than six decade alliance.”

Committed to working with its allies and partners to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific, the United States has built a land power network spanning the Indo-Pacific dedicated to defending peace and security in the region.

“This exercise showcases our reassurance with our presence and our deterrence to potential hostile actors in the region,” said Maj. Gen. Joel Vowell, commanding general of United States Army Japan. “Our message is clear. They will see our deep resolve and collective strength in working together to deter their unbridled aggression here at the knife edge of freedom.”

YS 83 marked the 42nd iteration of this annual Japan-based exercise that began in 1982. The main objective is to enhance American and Japanese combat readiness and cohesiveness, strengthen bilateral and joint relationships and demonstrate America’s shared resolve to support the security interests of allies and partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

“Understanding your partner’s capabilities, culture and ways of thinking are absolutely vital,” said Lt. Gen. Tadao Maeda, commanding general of JGSDF Ground Component Command. “The biggest significance is we can train and improve our operational capabilities in a bilateral operation given any situation.”

The exercise comprised approximately 1,200 U.S. personnel with simulation, assessment and support personnel, including 4,500 JGSDF members. Participants exchanged ideas, tactics, techniques and overall military experiences throughout the exercise.

“I have no doubt in my mind that we are all better and more prepared Soldiers,” said Brunson. “Our alliance with Japan serves as the key to integrated deterrence and regional security, and YS 83 far exceeded any expectation I had to develop interoperability and build partnerships.”

YS 83 was the largest joint and bilateral command post exercise co-sponsored by U.S. Army Pacific and the JGSDF to date. Additional participants included the 11th Airborne Division, 7th Infantry Division, JGSDF Ground Component Command, JGSDF Western Army, JGSDF Northern Army, U.S. 3rd Marine Division, JGSDF Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade and U.S. Army Japan.