Announcements | Sep 04, 2015
Japanese, American relations celebrated on NAS
Since the end of World War II 70 years ago, Japanese and American relations have flourished which can be seen in Japanese and U.S. trades, companies, and the number of Japanese residents in the U.S. and vice versa.
To honor these relationships, specifically those formed between Japan and Florida, the Japan-American Society of Northwest Florida hosted JUMP, the Japan-U.S. Military Program, today at the National Naval Aviation Museum.
Among the featured guest speakers was the honorable Masahiro Ogino, Acting Consul General, Consulate General of Japan in Miami.
“We enjoy a very good relationship between Japan and the states,” Ogino said.
This event was extremely special because of it being the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, the Consul General said, and how far Japanese and U.S. relations have come since then.
“Eighty percent of Japanese people say they like the United States,” Ogino said. “Also, in the United States, 70 percent of people say they have sympathy for Japan.”
Presenting opening remarks, Capt. Keith Hoskins, Pensacola Naval Air Station commanding officer, said JUMP celebrated the partnerships and friendships between America and Japan. With approximately 35,000 U.S. military members in Japan at any given time, Hoskins said Americans share a culture of living in Japan.
“These service members, along with their Japanese counterparts, develop a long-lasting, deep friendship that through JUMP allow these relationships to continue and flourish,” Hoskins said. “Here in Northwest Florida, there are nearly 80 members of the Japan-America Society all of whom are active and have a forever bond with Japan, its culture, and its wonderful people.”
Recalling his time in Japan, Marine Corps Lt. Col. Radford Coleman, HT-18 commanding officer at Whiting Field Naval Air Station, spoke about his journey preparing for his change of duty station in 2008 with a theme of the “fear of the unknown.”
Coleman said the move to Japan was scary but when the plane touched down in Tokyo, they were immediately welcomed and comforted by nothing but infectious smiles.
“That’s the culture, the respect, the honor that they had,” Coleman said. “It put a smile on my face right away. And even though I was dead tired, I started to think to myself that this would be OK.”
Coleman’s wife Shannon said their journey to and from Japan came full circle: she cried when she found out they got orders to Japan and she cried when she found out they were leaving Japan. They knew nothing about the culture or the language, Shannon said, but they ended up falling in love with the country.
“You have to be open and you have to get over that fear of not knowing,” Shannon said. “It was definitely a transition but it was worth every single awkward moment.”
Closing the program, Aviation Museum Historian Hill Goodspeed was reminded of a recent exchange he had with a Japanese rear admiral. Standing in the WWII section of the museum, he and the admiral were looking at some of the displays for several moments of silence.
“He looked at me and said, ‘You know, it’s amazing to me how in 70 years, the bitterest of enemies can become the greatest of friends,’” Goodspeed said of the admiral. “And I think that’s what this ceremony was about.”
This article was originally posted by Pensacola News Journal. See the original post here.