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Adm. Takashi Saito, chief of staff of Japan’s Joint Staff Office, and Lt. Gen. Bruce A. Wright, the U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force commander, sign documents Wednesday at Yokota Air Base, Japan, marking the formal agreement to conduct Keen Edge, a joint and bilateral command post exercise.

Adm. Takashi Saito, chief of staff of Japan’s Joint Staff Office, and Lt. Gen. Bruce A. Wright, the U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force commander, sign documents Wednesday at Yokota Air Base, Japan, marking the formal agreement to conduct Keen Edge, a joint and bilateral command post exercise. (Laszlo Babocsi / Courtesy of U.S. Air Force)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Force will stage Keen Edge and Yama Sakura next month as part of a tandem exercise for the first time.

The command-post exercise aims to increase combat readiness and the troops’ ability to work with each other. Some 3,100 Americans and 1,350 Japanese are to take part in the training.

Air Force Capt. Jason Medina, a U.S. Forces Japan spokesman, said the U.S. side is composed mostly of personnel assigned to U.S. Forces Japan, the 5th Air Force, U.S. Army Japan, III Marine Expeditionary Force and Commander, Naval Forces Japan. Some reservists also will take part, he said.

Keen Edge, scheduled for Feb. 1-7, uses computer-generated “emergencies” to test reaction capabilities in real time.

Yama Sakura is a computer-simulated exercise aimed at strengthening military operations and ties among the U.S. Army and Marine Corps and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. That phase is to unfold Feb. 9-15.

Directing the exercise will be Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright, USFJ and 5th Air Force commander, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Adm. Takashi Saito, Japan Joint Staff Office chief of staff.


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