KYOTO, Japan -- Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, visited the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) Maizuru District headquarters in Kyoto April 10-11 as a guest of Vice Adm. Kazuki Yamashita, commandant of the JMSDF Yokosuka District.
The trip reinforced 7th Fleet’s close, long-standing partnership with the JMSDF throughout Japan. Sawyer met with senior military leaders at JMSDF Maizuru District headquarters, including JMSDF Maizuru District commandant, Vice Adm. Takehisa Nakao and his chief of staff, Rear Adm. Nobuyuki Takenaka.
“Working side-by-side with the Kaijou Jieitai and seeing firsthand their dedication and professionalism, ensures me that our two navies will continue to operate at a high-level of readiness and capabilities,” said Sawyer. “For me and my 7th Fleet family, it is an amazing opportunity to live here in Japan and experience the rich culture Japan has to offer.”
During his visit, Sawyer toured the JMSDF Maizuru District Headquarters and Togo-tei, the official residence of former Japanese Imperial Navy admiral Togo Heihachiro. Sawyer, accompanied by his wife Lisa, also had the opportunity to visit several cultural sites in the region, including the Kodai-Ji temple, Sanjyu-Sangen Do and Fushimi Inari Shrine.
“This flag officers’ visit is very useful and important and further strengthens the relationship between the JMSDF and the U.S. Navy,” said Takenaka. “We hope we have given Adm. Sawyer the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of our organization through this trip.”
For more than 75 years, U.S. 7th Fleet has patrolled the Indo-Asia Pacific promoting and enhancing regional security and stability.
Seventh Fleet spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South.
Seventh Fleet's area of operation encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50% of the world’s population. At any given time there are roughly 50-70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 Sailors in Seventh Fleet.