Feb 12, 2014 -- The purpose of the visit was to familiarize the officials with the various Marine Corps installations throughout Okinawa and to provide a better understanding of daily operations that take place here.
“In Tokyo, we get our news of what’s going on in Okinawa from the media, so we are here to see the facilities and get a better idea of the operations that take place for ourselves,” said Kazumichi Nagaoka, a deputy director with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan’s Status of Forces Agreement Division.
FUTENMA, Okinawa - Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan toured Marine Corps Air Station Futenma Feb. 4 as part of a three-day visit of the installations on Okinawa.
The officials from the toured and were given presentations at Camps Kinser, Schwab, Foster, Hansen and MCAS Futenma during their visit to Okinawa.
“Like all (of the visits I host), I hope our guests leave with an appreciation and understanding of why (the Marine Corps’ presence at MCAS) Futenma is important,” said Col. James G. Flynn, the commanding officer of MCAS Futenma. “Contrary to what is in the (local media), MCAS Futenma has a good relationship with the community, communicating almost daily with the Ginowan mayor’s office. We do our best to be good neighbors.”
The guests were given a presentation about various topics regarding routine installation operations, which included MCAS Futenma’s primary mission: the aircraft employed there, humanitarian and disaster relief response capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region, and the installation’s community relations program, among other topics.
“The relationship is very different than what is relayed in the local media,” said Kanzo Kawaguchi, an official with the MOFA‘s Okinawa Liaison Office. “I think the visitors were very surprised with what they saw, and I think they now have a clearer picture of the (Marine Corps’ presence) and the efforts they make in regard to community relations.”
MCAS Futenma, along with the other installations on Okinawa, has numerous community outreach and relations programs in place tailored specifically to improve upon and maintain the relationship between the Marines and local communities of Okinawa.
“Seeing is believing,” said Nagaoka. “I have never seen the facilities or the operations that take place here firsthand, so I am grateful for the opportunity because we now have a better perspective of what takes place on Okinawa.
“I think it is clear that (the Marines) are working hard to deepen the relationship with the community and the (US-Japan) alliance.”