YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- The following is a statement from Lt. Gen. Jerry P. Martinez, commander of U.S. Forces, Japan regarding continued US military operations in Japan:
As the commander of U.S. Forces, Japan, there is no higher priority for me than the defense of Japan and the continued peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region. Japan is America’s strongest ally, and our enduring commitment to the defense of Japan can be seen daily in the dedication of the 54,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen who are stationed here.
The MV-22 mishap on August 5 off the coast of Australia is a reminder to all of us of the seriousness of our mission here in Japan, and we are deeply saddened by the loss of three Marines in the service of that mission.
There are clear threats to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. Our forces stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners in the Japan Self Defense Forces to defend Japan and contribute to regional security. We take that responsibility with utmost seriousness. To that end, we must maintain the highest levels of readiness to respond at a moment’s notice to any regional threat, crisis, or humanitarian disaster. To do any less would be to abdicate our responsibility to the people and government of Japan.
The level of readiness we ask of our forces can only be sustained through rigorous and consistent operations, training and exercises. We cannot, even for a moment, allow our ability to defend Japan to falter. This means continuing with our operations, training and exercises throughout Japan and the region. We will do so with safety as a top priority – both for our service members and the people of Japan.
We look forward to continuing to strengthen the partnership, friendship, and the enduring trust between the U.S. military and the Japan Self-Defense Forces.