U.S-Japan Conduct Joint Memorial On Guam

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World War II dead honored in ceremony

By Cameron Miculka

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Sept. 24, 2012) – Members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and the United States Marine Corps participated in a memorial service yesterday at South Pacific Memorial Park in Yigo.

Gen. Eiji Kimizuka, chief of staff of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, and Lt. Gen. Kenneth Glueck, commanding general of the Third Marine Expedition Force, laid tokens of tribute at the park's memorial monument in memory of those who died in the second world war.

This was the first time such a service has been held on Guam, according to Kimizuka, who spoke through a translator.

However, Kimizuka said that a similar ceremony is held every year in Iwo Jima.

"We wish for their soul and we wish for their peacefulness," said Kimizuka.

The ceremony involved leaving sake at the memorial site, a common memorial rite in Japan.

Kimizuka acknowledged that the service served not only to remember Japanese and American service members, but also residents of Guam who had lost lives during the war.

Glueck said he was honored to participate in the service.

"It is a great honor to take part in honoring all dead," he said.

This was the second time Glueck had attended a memorial service like this. Previously he had attended the service in Iwo Jima.

Glueck explained that he had known Kimizuka since 2004 and they had worked together during Operation Tomodachi, the United States military's humanitarian efforts in response to last year's tsunami.

"It's a great honor to be here and take part in this ceremony with a great general and friend," he said.

Joint exercises

Yesterday's service came while Marines and members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces are on Guam for joint exercises, which both men said have been a success.

Kimizuka said Japan's participation in the exercises "is a big step" for both participants, adding that the exercises hold "great significance" for the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces.

"We hope for more bi-lateral exercises to promote peace in the Asia-Pacific region," he said.

Glueck said the exercises demonstrated an "opportunity to deepen the relationship" between units and "integrate training as much as possible."

"We took many lessons learned from (Operation) Tomodachi and we look to build upon for the future," he said.

Kimizuka also responded to concerns about China's potential response to the joint exercise after recent tension between the two countries.

The general said the exercises were scheduled long before recent incidents in the region and that he believes "participating in the exercise contributes to stability in the Asian-Pacific region."

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