Members of the U.S. Armed Forces are accustomed to training regimens, but not many of these activities are conducted with troops from foreign countries present. This event is exactly what took place in early February, when soldiers from the U.S. and Japan trained together as part of a comprehensive disaster preparedness plan. 

American forces work with the Japanese 
Personnel from both countries spent time training together in Hawaii, with representatives from all four branches of the U.S. military working with the Japan Air Self Defense Force and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. According to The New York Times, Japanese troops also spent time at California's Camp Pendleton, working with Marines as part of a monthlong exercise. 

"The goal of this exercise is to continue bilateral integration between our two nations to promote the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region," said Maj. Gen. Kevin Pottinger of the Hawaii training, to the Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs. "Integration and ally engagements are keys to the success of mutual defense of Japan and continued free access to the global commons." 

In western Japan, the two nations conducted a disaster relief training exercise. According to the Global Times, troops were called upon to simulate their response to an earthquake off Japan's Pacific coast by delivering emergency equipment and shuttling personnel around the impacted area. 

Exercises focus on cohesive operations
The Japanese want to broaden military training and improve the cohesiveness of their forces. Working with the U.S. allows them to  take advantage of diverse training techniques and prepare for a wide range of scenarios. 

"We have made great progress working with our Japanese allies to enhance the integration of our air and missile defense operations," Pottinger said. "This exercise strengthened our highly synchronized, bilateral control of integrated air and missile defense."

Although troops from the two countries have a language barrier that made it difficult to communicate, interpreters were on hand to help coordinate the groups, allowing the Japanese to learn from their American counterparts. Both countries are concerned with regional stability and security. Working together allowed the allies to share strategies for a united defense against future disasters. 

U.S. and Japanese military leaders recognize that disaster recovery is a global concern. For troops currently deployed overseas, cooperating effectively with local citizens and authorities is a daily challenge. Whether fighting alongside international militia or assisting those affected by disasters on foreign shores, first responders benefit from the experiences gained through joint training programs.

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