USFJ, 5th AF leaders refine operations during Tokyo conference Aug. 25, 2023

TOKYO, Japan -- Lt. Gen. Ricky Rupp, U.S. Forces Japan and Fifth Air Force commander, joined leaders from across Japan in Tokyo, Aug. 17 - 18, to discuss military quality of life issues, the global security environment, and increasing threats throughout the Pacific.

The two-day conference included command team and family members from the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base, the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa Air Base, and the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base.

“It is great to see representation from all of our wings,” said Rupp. “What we discuss … will have long-lasting impacts on our joint force, their families, and our alliance.”

The first day of the conference opened with a motivational speech from speaker and influential author Dan Clark, where he challenged commanders to establish a culture of shared understanding in their organizations.

Wing command teams also exchanged information about recent developments within their organizations, talked about the implementation of mission command, and discussed the bilateral intent to bolster space operations in Japan.

“Our work here in Fifth Air Force is important to deterring the emerging threats in the Pacific,” said Rupp. “For this reason, we are focusing on the operational responsibilities of our organizations to meet these evolving conditions.”

Ms. Lois Rapp, Department of Defense Education Activity Pacific Region director of student excellence, also briefed on overall improvements to education environments for families in the Pacific.

On the second day of the conference, attendees traveled to the Japanese Diet Building, the political epicenter of Japan, where they were given a thorough tour of the facility. The tour led into a brief from former U.S. House of Representatives member and current Waseda University professor, Dr. Mieko Nakabayashi. Dr. Nakabayashi led a seminar on Japan’s political climate and how U.S. military activity influences stakeholders.

Later, military members traveled to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force Air Staff Office to meet with Gen. Hiroaki Uchikura, JASDF chief of staff, and supporting JASDF personnel. During the meeting, USAF and JASDF members discussed bilateral cooperation, lessons learned from recent exercises, and overcoming the challenges and constraints of future operating environments.

“I want to give my deepest gratitude to our U.S. allies for your long standing friendship, support and understanding of us,” said Uchikura. “In such a severe and complex security environment, we need to ensure interoperability between our nations remains strong.”