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Command at Yokosuka changes hands

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Capt. David Owen assumed command of Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka on Friday.

Owen, whose new command includes Yokosuka Naval Base and its outlying areas, replaced Capt. Daniel Weed during a ceremony.

Weed, who had served as commanding officer since 2007, will move to Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., where he will work as a professor of naval science, base officials said Friday.

Owen had been working for Afloat Training Group Atlantic in Norfolk, Va., as the branch engineering assessor.

Owen’s previous experience in the Pacific includes a tour with U.S. Forces Japan as an action officer at the Combat Plans Directorate, and another aboard the aircraft carrier USS Independence.

Wing welcomes new commander on Guam

TOKYO — Air Force Col. John Doucette took command Friday of the 36th Wing at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam.

Doucette, who will be promoted to brigadier general later this summer, replaced Brig. Gen. Philip Ruhlman during a ceremony on Andersen. Both men spoke of their respect and admiration for Guam’s residents, who have a strong tradition of serving in the military and the island’s National Guard unit.

Ruhlman is going to the Pentagon to work as the director of Manpower, Organization and Resources at Air Force Headquarters.

Sailors to climb Mount Fuji 4 times for charity

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Three sailors and a civilian will attempt to climb Japan’s hallowed Mount Fuji four times in 24 hours on Sept. 4 to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Lt. David Beam, David Church, Lt. Karl Royston and Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Wilkins are reviving a tradition first attempted by others from Yokosuka Naval Base in 2007 and 2008.

Mount Fuji is Japan’s tallest mountain at 12,388 feet.

For information and to donate, go to fujicharity.com.

Some expressways to offer toll-free travel

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Expressway driving on Okinawa and in the Sasebo and Misawa areas of mainland Japan will be toll free starting Monday in a government social experiment on ways to reduce highway operational costs and increase tourism.

Under the pilot program, a total of about 1,000 miles — about 20 percent of the nation’s toll roads — will be toll-free for all vehicles through March 2011. The areas covered include the entire Okinawa Expressway, portions of Aomori Expressway near Misawa and West Kyushu Expressway in Sasebo, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

In March 2009, the ministry capped the tolls for all national expressways at 1,000 yen, or about $10, on weekends and holidays for only vehicles with electronic toll collection devices. That program is expected to be replaced with a new discount system that would cap tolls at 2,000 yen per day but would also include vehicles not using ETC payment.

The new discount program is pending approval in the Diet, according to the ministry.

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