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United States presence in Japan explained

US Marine Corps News

By Lance Cpl. Salvador Moreno, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni

Dr. Robert D. Eldridge, deputy assistant chief of staff G-5 Marine Corps Bases Japan, provided a lecture on the security treaty and alliance between the U.S. and Japan to staff noncommissioned officers and officers at the new Joint Control Facility here March 25.

Service members arrive at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to perform their jobs but may not really understand why they are here, so he provided some answers for the Marines and sailors who attended.

Nearly 75 Marine and sailor SNCOs and officers attended the one and a half hour lecture on the past, present, and future of the American military presence in Japan and 50-year-old alliance.

“We have a security treaty with Japan,” said Eldridge. “As part of that security treaty, we maintain a full time robust military presence here.”

Eldridge said how the treaty came to be and how it has stood the test of time these past 50 years. He also provided information on the issues in contemporary Japan to enable the leaders here to mentor, teach and advise the younger service members of their role in Japan.

He referred to the information he was conveying as ammunition for the leaders here.

“With that ammunition, they can proactively address their Marines rather than reactively,” said Eldridge. “It also gives them a better understanding of why they are in Japan and the mission they are performing.”

Eldridge knows all too well how important it is to maintain the alliance here.

He has served as the deputy assistant chief of staff G-5 Marine Corps Bases Japan since September 2009 and was a tenured associate professor of Japanese political and diplomatic history at Osaka University from 2001-2009.

With that background and credentials, the SNCOs and officers who attended his lecture left a little more knowledgeable on the current situations in Japan.

“With this kind of forum with an educated expert coming in here, it provides more information to those leaders so they can do a better job educating our troops,” said Maj. Giuseppe Stavale, station provost marshal. Education is important to the continued presence of the U.S. forces in Japan.

The U.S. has an alliance with Japan. U.S. forces are here because of the alliance.

“The treaty from which we are operating is from 1960, but the alliance goes back to 1951 or so,” said Eldridge.

Frequently throughout his lecture he explained how the alliance may be old but it is a living, evolving relationship between the U.S. and Japan.

“We are not only Marines and sailors, but ambassadors to Japan,” said Eldridge. “Our actions should reflect not only as service members but as ambassadors to the United States.”

Through continued training Marines and sailors aboard the station can look forward to a long lasting alliance with Japan that will continue to stand the test of time.

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