Japanese Naval Officers Visit Camp Lemonnier
Nearly 200 newly-commissioned Japanese naval officers visited Camp Lemonnier July 13 to learn more about their coalition partners serving in and around the Horn of Africa.
Djibouti was one of several port calls for these officers, who recently embarked on their first sea tour in the waters around East Africa to help promote stability in the region.
"This is their first five-month-at-sea tour where they are going to take all of the training they have done and put it in to practice," said U.S. Navy Lt. Deanna Markey, Japanese liaison officer, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa.
Lt. Cmdr. Naomi Nii, Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force aviation staff officer, expressed his views on the importance of coalition partners working alongside militaries and government of countries in East Africa.
"Stability, safety and security is very important to the African people, so partnership between the U.S. and Japanese navies is very helpful," said Nii.
During their visit, the Japanese officers received a briefing on the camp's mission from U.S. Navy Capt. Kevin Bertelsen, Camp Lemonnier commanding officer, and a CJTF-HOA mission brief from U.S. Navy Capt. Joseph Horvath, executive assistant to U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Rob Baker, CJTF-HOA commander. U.S. personnel then treated their Japanese guests to a bus tour of the camp and an American-style lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers.
Horvath welcomed the opportunity to speak with the Japanese officers and provide them a look at how the U.S. works with its coalition partners and other nations in the Horn of Africa.
"[The Japanese have] been great partners over the years here at CJTF-HOA, and we appreciate the opportunity to help them better understand our mission and work with us here," said Horvath.
Like their U.S. counterparts, the Japanese participate in various missions throughout the Horn of Africa to help promote regional stability on both land and sea. This five-month sea tour is a unique opportunity for these members of the Japanese MSDF, said Ensign Daisuke Kikuchi, MSDF midshipman.
"The Japanese Navy used to work only around Japan, but now our job has become very international," said Kikuchi in reference to the work the Japanese military performs in the seas around East Africa. "So cooperation [between Japan and coalition partner nations] is very important."
CJTF-HOA personnel work alongside members of other coalition nations to enhance East African partner-nation capacity, promote regional stability, dissuade conflict, and protect U.S. and coalition interests.