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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni near Hiroshima announced this week it has canceled the annual Friendship Day celebration, which drew about 265,000 visitors last year, due to the ongoing disaster in Japan.The air station sits in southern Japan far from the destruction and nuclear crisis along the northeastern coast of the country but said it would not hold the event, which was founded nearly 40 years ago, due to the demands of the U.S. military relief mission Operation Tomodachi.“The decision was also rendered out of respect for the victims and their families,” the base public affairs office said in a released statement on the decision. “Japan is in mourning, and so are we.”The Friendship Day celebration is one of the largest civilian events held at U.S. bases in the region and allows Japanese citizens a rare chance to visit the facility, watch air shows and eat American food.


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