On Saturday, June 23, Masatoshi Sato, Head of the Consular Office of Japan in Anchorage, and Mrs. Sato hosted a reception at the Hotel Captain Cook to celebrate the close ties between the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Alaskan Command (ALCOM). The reception was held while the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) and 1st Airborne Brigade, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF), were in Alaska to participate in joint training exercises held annually – RED FLAG Alaska and Arctic Aurora, respectively.
Mr. Sato and Colonel Jason Jones of U.S. Army Alaska (USARAK) made a few remarks. Senator Dan Sullivan sent a congratulatory message to the reception. A toast was proposed jointly by Colonel Masashi Ota, Flight Group Commander, 1st Tactical Airlift Wing, JASDF, and Lt. Colonel Ryuichi Ishimoto, Commander of 3rd Infantry Battalion, 1st Airborne Brigade.
In addition, prizes were awarded to two members each of ALCOM, USARAK, JASDF, and JGSDF. Award recipients were chosen in recognition of their outstanding achievement in RED FLAG Alaska 18-2 and Arctic Aurora 2018, respectively.
Guests had the opportunity to sample Japanese sake and plum wine. JASDF and JGSDF members received gift bags containing maps and travel information for Anchorage and Fairbanks. Military members from JBER received gift bags containing information on Alaska’s sister cities in Japan, most of which are located in the northernmost island of Hokkaido.