Military exercise to be held at Camp Asaka
January 7, 2004
CAMP ZAMA, Japan — About 1,400 U.S. soldiers and civilians will arrive in Japan this month to take part in the 45th Yama Sakura bilateral training exercise near Tokyo.
The exercise will be at Camp Asaka, headquarters for Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force Eastern Army, about 12 miles from central Tokyo.
The weeklong exercise, one of the largest command post exercises in the Pacific, runs Jan. 25 to Jan. 31.
Members of the 35th Supply and Service Battalion at Sagami Depot left for Camp Asaka this week with six trailers of equipment to begin preparing for the exercise, said Maj. Marc Spencer, battalion supply operations officer. They will set up the support and communications to accommodate U.S. forces at the camp.
Yama Sakura provides Japanese forces experience with U.S. doctrine, exercises the two countries’ capability to defend Japan and tests their ability to work together, according to Maj. John Amberg, a U.S. Army Japan spokesman.
Yama Sakura began in 1982 as a strategy-building exercise and evolved into a technical computer-assisted command-and-control exercise.
Computers draw up a scenario based on real-world conditions but with no particular threat in mind. The exercise plays out the scenario. Past years’ exercises have included themes such as attacks on Japan, missile defense, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and noncombat evacuations.
Members of the U. S. Army Battle Command Training Program from Fort Leavenworth, Kan., will observe the training.
U.S. Army Japan and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force staff office sponsor Yama Sakura. U.S. officials will pay $4.7 million toward the training, Amberg said.
Soldiers from the Fort Lewis, Wash.-based I Corps, commanded by Lt. Gen. Edward Soriano, and others — including many Reservists from Virginia, Texas, Hawaii and California — will participate, Amberg said.
Soriano and Lt. Gen. Hirotoshi Kan, commanding general of Japan’s eastern army, will direct the exercise with support from Maj. Gen. Elbert N. Perkins, commanding general for U.S. Army Japan/9th Theater Support Command.
Camp Asaka is the main defense-force hub for Tokyo and 10 surrounding prefectures.
The location of the exercise changes each year. Last year it was held in northern Honshu, Japan’s largest island, and Hokkaido, the nation’s northernmost island.
— Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.