On 19 November 2022, YCAPS and its partners at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA and the Japan-US Military Program hosted a celebration of the US-Japan Alliance onboard the historic museum ship Mikasa in Yokosuka. The venue was at full capacity with about 60 people, including active-duty members of the US military and Japan Self-Defense team, SOFA-sponsored individuals, and other supporters of the US-Japan Alliance.
The Alliance Celebration kicked off with welcome drinks in the auditorium of the Mikasa, followed by a welcome from YCAPS Vice-President Brian Waidelich, and the singing of the US and Japanese national anthems by Jenna Lindeke Heavenrich, Program Officer of YCAPS’s Community Conversations seminar series. YCAPS Executive Director John Bradford then delivered remarks (read them here) on the significance of the US-Japan Alliance, during which he recognized the contributions of specific guests present. After an introduction from John, Ambassador Umemoto Kazuyoshi, President of the Japan Foundation, gave a few minutes of comments showing appreciation for the people who empower the Alliance.
The keynote address of the event was delivered by Lt General Wallace "Chip" Gregson (read it here), who previously served as Assistant Security of Defense for Asia-Pacific Security Affairs. General Gregson’s speech focused on tracing the history of regional security dynamics and the importance of US-Japan cooperation to ensuring regional prosperity.
After the keynote address, guests proceeded to the Mikasa’s below-deck officers’ space where they enjoyed a festive reception and engaged in spirited conversation. Finally, John Bradford delivered concluding remarks, and guests of the Celebration disembarked the Mikasa into the cool and breezy Yokosuka evening.
This event would not have been possible without the support of numerous individuals and organizations. We would like to extend special thanks to: Thestaff at the Mikasa PreservationSociety for allowing the use of their ship as a venue; SPFUSA and JUMP for partnering with us for this event; AmbassadorUmemoto and Lieutenant General Gregson for their insightful presentations; donations of goods and services-in-kind from AntennaAmerica, FADTECH and Yoko’licious; and the YCAPS volunteers who organized and executed the event.