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Spc. Tyrerse Dean, front, from the 88th Military Police wrestles Capt. Moises Ramirez, the Anti-Terrorism Officer to the ground during an anti-terrorism scenario at Camp Zama.
Spc. Tyrerse Dean, front, from the 88th Military Police wrestles Capt. Moises Ramirez, the Anti-Terrorism Officer to the ground during an anti-terrorism scenario at Camp Zama. (Jim Schulz / S&S)
Spc. Tyrerse Dean, front, from the 88th Military Police wrestles Capt. Moises Ramirez, the Anti-Terrorism Officer to the ground during an anti-terrorism scenario at Camp Zama.
Spc. Tyrerse Dean, front, from the 88th Military Police wrestles Capt. Moises Ramirez, the Anti-Terrorism Officer to the ground during an anti-terrorism scenario at Camp Zama. (Jim Schulz / S&S)
Terrorist role players force their hostages to shout demands out a window during a anti-terrorism exercise at Camp Zama.
Terrorist role players force their hostages to shout demands out a window during a anti-terrorism exercise at Camp Zama. (Jim Schulz / S&S)
A terrorist role player looks out the window during an anti-terrorism exercise at Camp Zama.
A terrorist role player looks out the window during an anti-terrorism exercise at Camp Zama. (Jim Schulz / S&S)

CAMP ZAMA, Japan — Mock terrorists broke through a gate Tuesday, then led security on a chase before barricading themselves in a room with two hostages.

After negotiations broke down, a special reactionary force stormed in, took out the terrorists and freed a hostage (one escaped).

All in a day’s work for a training exercise, but, this time, the participants included U.S. and Japanese forces.

Since the signing of an agreement last month, U.S. soldiers and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members now can train together to defend the installation against terrorism.

Over two days, both sides practiced a series of drills, including the hostage crisis, a break-in on post, a bombing and chemical attack.

“They’re a part of our plan, that’s why it’s important to train with them,” said Capt. Moises Ramirez, anti-terrorism officer and director of plans, training, mobilization and security. “We haven’t trained together since 9/11. The Japanese have a totally different way of doing business from us. They’re more methodical.”

“The biggest thing we’re trying to do is get the communication and the cooperation bilateral,” said Col. Garland H. Williams, commander of U.S. Army Garrison-Japan.

After Sept. 11, 2001, Japanese forces joined in the security of bases around Japan. But the two sides never had trained together to prepare. U.S. and Japanese military leaders eventually came up with a “Guard and Protect” agreement to allow this kind of training.

Tuesday’s training included elements that U.S. forces would need assistance with during a heightened force-protection condition: patrols, checkpoints and vehicle searches.

“It’s extremely important to do this. The Japanese have much more resources to draw on than we do at Camp Zama,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Hulsebosch, Zama’s provost marshal.

About 25 U.S. personnel and 400 Self-Defense Force members participated. The exercise was successful, but language barriers proved the biggest obstacle, officials said.

“It’s very difficult to communicate in detail well” in another language, said Col. Kazuhiro Watanabe, commander of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force engineer group at Camp Zama.

The two sides rely on translators to communicate, he said, but training together helps prepare both. The exercise also tests the ability of command centers from both countries to coordinate and communicate.

“The communication gets the right people to the right places,” Hulsebosch said.

For the exercise’s main piece, mock terrorists simulated driving through a gate and part of the way across post. Japan Self-Defense Force members chased them into a building, where the terrorists took hostages.

Emergency reactionary forces responded and surrounded the building, while a special reaction team prepared to break in and stop them.

“The focus was on command and control,” said Timothy P. Maroney, the plans and operations officer for U.S. Army Garrison-Japan. “For the first time that we’ve done it, we did well.”

The exercise began Monday and included a bomb scenario, suspicious individuals and a possible chemical/biological attack.

Participants proceeded despite violent weather Monday night.

“We did it as the typhoon was passing over,” Maroney said.

The exercise showed both sides areas in which they need to improve.

“This is like a crawl phase,” Ramirez said — they build on the experience for future exercises.

The most important thing, he said, is preparing both sides for any contingency.

“We are a target, and we don’t know when it could happen,” Ramirez said. “That’s the bottom line; we’ve got to be ready.”

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