JASCers hear from Captain Charles W. Rock, Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo

Captain Rock addresses the delegation.

The 65th JASC delegation spent August 8th, 2013 focusing on the U.S. military presence in Japan, analyzing the benefits and challenges. The delegation heard a lecture from Captain Charles W. Rock, Commander of Fleet Activities for the U.S. Navy in Sasebo. Captain Rock shared wisdom from his two-year experience as fleet commander in Sasebo, focusing on the collaboration between the U.S. military and the Japanese Self Defense Forces. Captain Rock assumed his post in the midst of Operation Tomodachi, the United States Armed Forces assistance operation to support Japan in disaster relief following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. A recurring theme throughout the Captain’s talk was his belief that the U.S. and Japanese military relationship is one of the strongest and most strategically important that exist in the modern world. He also emphasized his belief that the Japanese Self Defense forces are extremely capable of carrying out their mission of defending Japan.

John McCallum of Harvard College poses a question to Captain Rock.

Captain Rock was asked about recent incidents in Okinawa involving American military personnel. He strongly condemned misdeeds by military personnel and shared his thoughts on bettering the situation. He also mentioned that while relations between local people and the U.S. military are challenging in Okinawa, the case in Sasebo is quite different. He reasoned that relations are less difficult due to close collaboration between Japanese Self Defense Forces  and the U.S. military in Sasebo as well as close collaboration between the U.S. military and corporations in the area (i.e. the Navy has a dry dock located in a commercial shipyard in the area). The U.S. military happens to be one of the largest employers in the region, which Captain Rock believes also makes relations warmer.

Captain Rock exchanges business cards with JEC Chair Masato Takeuchi of the Tokyo University of the Arts.

Nobuhiko Yamakawa, representative of the Japan-America Society of Sasebo gave brief remarks at the reception.

After hearing the lecture, delegates attended a reception in Sasebo city. Here the delegation continued the discussion with Commander Rock and other guests. The Japan-America Soceity of Sasebo made the reception possible.

While it’s not always easy to come to consensus on issues involving military collaboration between Japan and the U.S., the discussion did help build mutual understanding among the delegation, helping to fulfill a key goal of JASC. ISC’s, the nonprofit organization tasked with supporting JASC on the American side, mission is to promote peace by furthering mutual understanding, friendship and trust through international student interchange..

Food was plentiful at the reception.


 

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