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Yama Sakura

Yama Sakura (YAMA SAKURA means Mountain Cherry Blossom) is an annual, bilateral command post exercise that simulates Japanese-US military operations required to defend Japan. Yama Sakura is a computer simulated command post exercise designed to strengthen military operations and ties between the U.S. Army. and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. Yama Sakura is a yearly command post exercise between I Corps and the JGSDF sponsored by USARJ and the Japanese Ground Staff Office. It is I Corps' largest and most important exercise in Japan. Every January, one of the five regional Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) Armies is joined by US Army I Corps to conduct the exercise in Japan and the US.

Since their inception in 1982, these exercises have focused on the development and refinement of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and U.S. Army Japan (USARJ) efforts in the areas of bilateral planning, coordination, and interoperability through training. The first YAMA SAKURA was held in 1982 with a total of 570 US soldiers participating.

Although each annual event has grown in scope, magnitude and complexity, the exercise's mission has remained unchanged from its original mission: "To conduct a joint/bilateral command post exercise (CPX) with JSDF and U.S. forces to train for the bilateral defense of Japan." YAMA SAKURA exercises have had four mission objectives: 1) To train U.S. ground forces for deployment to Japan, 2) Provide JSDF maximum exposure to U.S. warfighting doctrine, 3) Exercise JSDF capabilities to defend Japan, and 4) prepare USARJ/9th Theater Army Area Command (TAACOM) for its wartime mission.

Yama Sakura XXVII

I Corps' participation began with YAMA SAKURA XXVII in 1995.

Yama Sakura XXXI

Japan and the U.S. continued strengthening their bilateral relations and support for security in the Asia-Pacific region when the two nations conducted their annual command post exercise, YAMA SAKURA XXXI, from 22 to 31 January 1997 at Camp Sendai, Japan. This year's JSDF participants included elements from the Ground Staff Office, Air Staff Office, and Maritime Staff Office. The Northeastern Army, whose last participation in YAMA SAKURA was in 1993, was the major player for the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF).

The primary JGSDF participants were the 6th and 9th Infantry Divisions, augmented for the exercise by two additional infantry divisions, one airborne brigade, an artillery and engineer brigade, an air defense artillery group, as well as an aviation group and a logistics brigade attached from Western Army. The force structure also included Northeastern Army Transportation Command, General Services, and 6th and 9th Area Security Force. Japanese participants operated from Camp Sendai, with a small Japan Air Self-Defense Force staff cell at Yokota Air Base.

The U.S. forces involved a mixture of active and reserve component units. (USARJ acts as U.S. Army Pacific Command's "executive agent" for Japan-based exercises.) U.S. Army's I Corps, based at Fort Lewis, Washington, is the premier war fighter in this U.S. Army Corps/JGSDF CPX. U.S. participants operated from Camp Sendai and Yokota Air Base, Japan; Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii; and Fort Lewis, Washington. As in previous YAMA SAKURA exercises, reserve component forces comprised the bulk of U.S. forces, this year from 38 States. However, the majority of the U.S. reservists did not operate from Japan; they participated from either Fort Lewis or Wheeler Army Airfield.

The Communications Wide-Area Network established went around the globe to overcome the great distances involved to make the exercise a success. The computer simulations were run on commercial, high speed, redundant communication networks that provided secure lines for both simulation data exchange and player operations throughout the exercise. Some of the services provided by this network were: computer network linkages, electronic mail, bilateral telephone switches, facsimile and bilateral terminals, and video teleconferencing.

Ground, air, and naval operations were driven by the appropriate component computer simulations. The Corps Battle Simulation was used for ground operations. Air Warfare Simulations Sytem was used for air operations. The Research Evaluation Sytems Analysis was used for naval operations. These three simulations were linked so that all exercise play depicted an integrated battlefield.

However, the technical challenges in providing a realistic battle simulation game for the CPX were not the only significant challenges of the exercise. Other obstacles that needed to be overcome were language and cultural differences. To better understand their counterparts, U.S. soldiers received orientations on Japanese culture and were provided an opportunity to visit homes of Japanese families.

Yama Sakura XXXV

More than 100 representatives from U.S. Army Japan, I Corps and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces' Eastern Army met Sept. 28 through Oct. 2 1998 at Camp Asaka to finalize plans for Yama Sakura 35. This is the final of three conferences used to help prepare all of the participants who are coming here both from a site support perspective, to be able to administratively take care of those participants coming into this location, and to be able to provide communications and simulation support.

Yama Sakura XXXVI

Yama Sakura XXXVII

Yama Sakura XXXVIII

Yama Sakura XXXIX

The United States and Japan took another giant step toward strengthening their bilateral relations and support for security in the Asia-Pacific region when the two nations conducted their annual Yama Sakura XXXV exercise, Jan. 24-30. In YAMA SAKURA XXXIX, held in January 2001, more than 1,300 U.S. soldiers participated. This included US Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers deploying from 32 US states, as far away as New Jersey and as close as Hawaii. The key to success in YAMA SAKURA is the bilateral operations and interaction between the two countries' forces. The exercise also consisted of 300 active duty soldiers from I Corps, located at Ft. Lewis, Wash., and 400 active duty troops from the USARJ.

This simulation exercise is basically conducted using two cells - the Player Cell (located in Japan) and the Gamer Cell (located at Fort Lewis, Washington). The members of the Player Cell "play the game" and make the operational decisions. The members of the Gamer Cell operate the simulation equipment and execute the orders given by the Player Cell. The Western Army of the JGSDF was Japan's participant, augmented and assisted by U.S. Army I Corps in defeating the enemy and successfully defending Japan. Other participants in the exercise included the Japan Ground Self Defense Force's Eastern Army, Japan Air Self Defense Force, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, 310th Theater Support Command and the 5th U.S. Air Force.

Yama Sakura XLI

The Yama Sakura XLI (YS XLI) Command Post Exercise (CPX) is a bilateral CPX, which is designed to exercise the staffs of USARJ and its subordinate units, I Corps, the JGSDF GSO, and the JGSDF NEA. This CPX was conducted primarily at Camp Sendai and Yokota Air Base, Honshu, Japan. This CPX was co-sponsored by the USARJ and the JGSDF. In 2001 the JGSDF NEA at Camp Sendai, Sendai City, Honshu, Japan, hosted YS XLI. The CPX was conducted in conjunction with the 5th Air Force and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's Fuji Exercise.

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