NEWS | Oct. 29, 2019

Strengthening Partnerships through the Bilateral Exchange Program

By Senior Airman Juan Torres 374th Airlift Wing public affairs

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Yokota Air Base Airmen participated in the Bilateral Exchange Program (BEP), in which Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Airmen experience working with U.S. Air Force Airmen, Oct. 17-25.

15 Koku-Jieitai Airmen visited Yokota to work with their U.S. Air Force counterparts, giving them a chance to learn, grow and strengthen relationships.

This program allows the Airmen to learn from one another’s job while building better practices and also provides Airmen an opportunity to share their culture.

“Through the BEP, I can learn the differences of operations between the U.S. Air Force and Japan Air-Self Defense Force,” said JASDF Tech. Sgt. Yuji Watanabe, Iruma Weather Squadron weather observer. It helps me recognize a lot of pros and cons and gives me a good opportunity of bringing back what I’ve learned to my unit.”

The Airmen participating in the program come from a variety of sections such as weather, airfield management, maintenance, security forces, supply, and more.

The Airmen worked together through a challenging language barrier while strengthening partnerships.

“Every one of our counterparts were kind and encouraged and spoke positively to us,” said Watanabe. “You don’t have to worry about your English aptitude. You can enjoy every minute of the program by staying positive. We can definitely learn a lot from each other.”