MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- U.S. Marine Corps Col. Richard F. Fuerst, commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Christopher J. Garza, sergeant major of MCAS Iwakuni and Yoshihiko Fukuda, mayor of Iwakuni City, and other Japanese government officials, took part in the eighth Joint Leadership Walk in Iwakuni City, Japan, Jan. 31, 2018.
Station and city leadership walked throughout Iwakuni City and visited business owners and patrons, engaged in conversations with local citizens and answered questions for local news media.
“We have a great alliance between the U.S. and Japan, and we are in their home country,” said Fuerst. “I have a lot of respect for the Japanese people, their property and their culture. We are members of their community, and it is important for us to behave well here and to be good neighbors.”
VIP’s at the event included U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Joseph S. Gregory, incoming sergeant major of MCAS Iwakuni, Masahiro Akase, director general of the Chugoku Shikoku Defense Bureau, and Yasutake Iida, director for the Yamaguchi Prefecture Iwakuni Citizens Bureau.
The event displayed the effort put forth by MCAS Iwakuni toward strengthening the existing relationship with the Japanese community and showcased the working relationship between leaders with the Japanese government and MCAS Iwakuni.
Fukuda said that his mission is to make sure people living in Iwakuni can enjoy a safe life and maintain a peaceful life together. Therefore, he is encouraging every individual to think about what they can do to ensure a happy environment for living in Iwakuni.
The walks began in 2009 to show the common ground between leaders so that through partnership, both communities can live and work in harmony.
“The joint leadership walk was created to show the citizens of Iwakuni and Yamaguchi prefecture that we are united, that we have a common goal and that we get along well with the mayor, director general Akase and director Iida,” said Fuerst. “The purpose (of the walk) is to get out and show that we can work together, live peacefully in the area and still accomplish our goal, which is to fly and maintain the readiness of units on Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in support of the alliance.”