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NEWS | March 9, 2023

American Chamber of Commerce, US Service Members Come Together to Further Future Opportunities

By Lance Cpl. Jonathan Beauchamp Marine Corps Installations Pacific

GINOWAN, OKINAWA, Japan -- The American Chamber of Commerce in Okinawa met with U.S. military officials to promote business between the U.S. military and Japanese entrepreneurs with ACCO at Ginowan, Okinawa, Japan, March 3.

The meeting promoted community service and outreach, business opportunities, and alliance strengthening between the two countries. During the conference, attendees had a meal together, listened to the goals and mission of U.S. military branches on the island, and had time to participate in a question panel consisting of key U.S. military leaders.

“I think because of today’s meeting, the American Chamber of Commerce members have become exceedingly more open to working with the military,” said Justin Wentworth IV, the president of ACCO. “This was an excellent opportunity for the military to learn more about the community and how we operate as businessmen and businesswomen.”

ACCO was established in 1953 to unite business growth and American success among all affiliates. Fields commonly joined with ACCO are manufacturing, retail, construction, wholesale, and financial services. As Japan's work industries evolve and the job market changes, employment partnership opportunities in countries such as the U.S. become more readily available.

“ACCO is essential for the military because as we do our day-to-day operations, we often receive support from off-base Japanese companies and contractors,” said U.S. Marine Corps Col. David Banning, the commanding officer of Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “Due to Japan's operational support for the U.S., it is important to continue to build strong relationships and everlasting friendships with our host nation.”

During the meeting, several service member officials explained how Okinawan businesses, such as hotels, vendors, and taxi services, help increase the quality of life in Okinawa. They also explained that the military always seeks new business opportunities with the island to protect and strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance.

“Throughout the meeting, I learned how the military continually takes steps to protect Okinawa and help grow the island,” said Wentworth. “I aim to see ACCO become a business bridge between the local community and the military. With each meeting, we will become one step closer to fully embracing this idea.”

The military helps protect Okinawa through community service. Volunteer events and attendees play an intricate role in community relations, growth, and the overall well-being of Okinawa residents. In addition, community outreach is important because it connects the community and improves the quality of life.

“I look forward to seeing events like these continue because this gives us new opportunities,” said Banning. “I think that as the U.S.-Japan alliance continues to grow stronger, the regularity of meetings like this will continue.”

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