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The importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance as a critical partnership during a period of increasingly fast-paced maritime competition was stressed at the Second Annual JUMP Dinner in Washington, D.C. on March 16.

Exploring the theme of the future of the U.S.-Japan alliance, the dinner brought together over 100 JUMP members at the prestigious Army and Navy Club to enjoy the company of others who have served in Japan and hear about the state of the alliance from keynote speaker, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Michael Richardson.

Admiral Richardson detailed an environment of increasing maritime competition in the Asia Pacific region that is also growing in complexity. These challenges, he said, underscore the importance of strong, long-term international partnerships.

“If we want a partner in this with us, side by side, it’s Japan,” he said, emphasizing the U.S. Navy’s long-standing relationship with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. “…Together, we can outpace any threat and maintain stability in the region.”

Admiral Richardson’s talk was followed by a question-and-answer session moderated by Admiral Dennis Blair, USN (Ret.), former Director of National Intelligence and Commander of Pacific Command. Admiral Blair and others from the audience posed questions on topics ranging from maritime capabilities in the Pacific and the role of Freedom of Navigation operations to the challenges posed by a nuclear North Korea and Chinese military deployments in the South and East China Sea.

The dinner served as a continuation of the 2016 Annual Dinner discussion, at which keynote speaker General Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps, also remarked on the importance of maintaining strong allies to approach growing challenges and potential friction points in the Pacific. Click here to read a recap of the first annual dinner.

JUMP Program Director Lieutenant Colonal James Kendall, USMC (Ret.), also spoke at the dinner, highlighting JUMP events held in the past year and the program’s growing network that is reaching cities across the United States from Pensacola, Florida to Seattle, Washington, and many places in between. The past year also saw the JUMP program establish a partnership with the Yokosuka Council on Asia-Pacific Studies (YCAPS), allowing the extension of event offerings into Japan, and in the coming year JUMP plans to host its first event in Hawaii.

Through these events and the annual dinner, JUMP builds relationships and provides opportunities for service members to engage with each other. JUMP is a collaborative effort between Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, the Embassy of Japan in the United States and the National Association of Japan-America Societies.

Membership is free, and members receive invitations to JUMP’s exclusive events around the country. Click here to join!

Article by Christa Desrets. Photos by Jessica Yurinko.



JUMP Seattle logosNews Release
August 31, 2016
For more information please contact:
Christa Desrets
(202) 296-6694 x118

Beyond reconciliation: Event to honor Nisei veterans, celebrate U.S.-Japan alliance

SEATTLE — More than 70 years ago, at the height of World War II, one regiment of the United States Army fought not only against the Axis powers in central Europe, but also to exonerate themselves from prejudices that led their families to be incarcerated back home. Today, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was composed almost entirely of Japanese Americans, is known as the most decorated unit in American history for its size and length of service—a distinction that will be celebrated in Seattle on Sept. 17 at an event that will honor their sacrifices while also celebrating two nations that have reconciled to become the closest of allies.

Members of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces will come together at this Japan-US Military Program (JUMP) event to honor the Nisei Veterans who served in the segregated 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT) and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS), during World War II.

The event, held by the Nisei Veterans Committee in collaboration with the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington and with support from the Consulate General of Japan in Seattle, will include American and Japanese forces, officials with Joint Base Lewis McChord, and veterans from the area who have served in Japan. The event coincides with the annual U.S.-Japan Rising Thunder training exercises at the Yakima Training Center.

Held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the NVC Memorial Hall in Seattle (map), the event will include a tour of the venue, a luncheon featuring Japanese cuisine, special guests and speakers, taiko drumming, and a special video presentation featuring Nisei Veteran Sam Mitsui.

The event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. Please join us as we honor veterans and active duty forces while celebrating the deep friendship between the United States and our allies in Japan.


Click here to RSVP


JUMP is excited to welcome distinguished guests to the program including:

• Adm. Dennis C. Blair, USN (ret.), chairman and CEO, Sasakawa USA
• Maj. Gen. Thomas James Jr., commanding general, 7th Infantry Division
• Lt. Gen. Takashi Motomatsu, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
• Mr. Rick Takeuchi, commander, Nisei Veterans Committee
• Mr. Sam Mitsui, Nisei Veteran
• Consul General Masahiro Omura, Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle
• Mr. Tay Yoshitani, chair, Japan-America Society of the State of Washington
• Mr. Dale Watanabe, executive director, Japan-America Society of the State of Washington
• Mr. Peter Kelley, President, National Association of Japan America Societies
• LtCol. James Kendall, USMC (ret.), Director of the JUMP Program and Fellow at Sasakawa USA

About JUMP:
The Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP) connects past and present service members, families, and government civilians who have served in Japan. Through social networks and events, JUMP builds relationships and provides opportunities for service members to engage with each other. JUMP provides a powerful foundation for sustaining the solid alliance between the U.S. and Japan.  JUMP is a collaborative venture of Sasakawa USA, the Embassy of Japan in the United States, and the National Association of Japan-America Societies.

About The Japan America Society of the State of Washington:
JASSW was founded on July 24, 1923 by leaders from Seattle’s business, academic, and diplomatic communities with the mission of promoting mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of Japan and Washington State by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. Today, the Society, one of 38 independent members of the National Association of Japan-America Societies, maintains a diverse membership of Japanese and American corporations and individuals from throughout the state and provides varied programs that build positive U.S.-Japan relations.

About the Nisei Veterans Committee:
After facing racial discrimination, prejudice, and rejection by other veterans organizations in the Pacific Northwest, a group of recently discharged second generation Japanese-American Veterans formed the Seattle Nisei Veterans Committee on March 25, 1946. At that time, one of the purposes of the group was to sustain the strong personal relationships that were forged during the war. Today, the NVC strives to preserve and honor the legacy of Japanese-American veterans and also provide educational, cultural, and social programs for the broader community. Membership is open to all honorably discharged veterans who support the patriotic goals and aspirations of the NVC.

About Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA:
Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA is an independent, American, non-profit, non-partisan institution devoted to research, analysis, and better understanding of the U.S.-Japan relationship. Through research and education programs, Sasakawa USA facilitates people-to-people exchanges and dialogue between American and Japanese policymakers, influential citizens, and the broader public.

My family and I first went to Japan in 1984, when I commanded a guided missile destroyer newly homeported in Yokosuka. It didn’t take long before the beauty of Japan and the hospitality of the Japanese people captured my admiration and affection. Both of our children returned to Japan later for exchange visits.

Although Japanese people and Americans are different in so many ways, through the years our people have formed unique personal bonds and a sincere appreciation for each other’s countries. That is especially true among service members, government civilians, and their families who have served in Japan.

While I no longer explore the coast of Japan from a ship, I am now happy to be working with JUMP and helping to connect past and present service members and their families with others who have this shared experience. I believe Japan and America have much to offer each other, and JUMP is a powerful tool through which we can continue to build upon the U.S.-Japan alliance.


Admiral Dennis C. Blair, USN (ret.) is a renowned expert on Asia Pacific policy and issues, having served as Director of National Intelligence and Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command. During his 34-year Navy career, Blair served on guided missile destroyers in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets and commanded the Kitty Hawk Battle Group. Ashore, he served as Director of the Joint Staff and held budget and policy positions on the National Security Council and several major Navy staffs. He is the Chairman of the Board at Sasakawa USA, which administers JUMP, and he has participated as a recurring featured guest at JUMP events.

2023 The Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP)

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