6th Joint Leadership Walk connects Japanese community, station residents
IWAKUNI CITY, Japan -- Lt. Col. Gary Thomason, executive officer of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Yoshihiko Fukuda, mayor of Iwakuni City, and other Japanese government officials participated in the 6th Joint Leadership Walk through the streets of Iwakuni Dec. 4, 2015.
The Joint Leadership Walk represents the unique relationship between the air station and Iwakuni City. It began in 2009 as a biannual event that discontinued after the United States Forces Japan and III Marine Expeditionary Force liberty policy change in 2011 which restricted alcohol consumption off base and implemented a night curfew.
Iwakuni City officials invited station leadership to participate in the walk to help mitigate possible increased concerns in the local community regarding recent liberty changes.
“Participating in the walk demonstrates our commitment to being good ambassadors and neighbors,” said Thomason. “It also demonstrates the unity of effort between Japanese and U.S. leadership designed to ensure safety and security for all.”
City and station officials led participants through the streets of Iwakuni and engaged the local citizens and service members enjoying the city.
Thomason and Fukuda both said that when local citizens and service members observe their leaders walking the streets, it sends a message of engagement.
“I believe my action conveyed a message to many people in the community that we are the ones responsible to keep our community safe,” said Fukuda. “We are the ones responsible for developing a safe community with no worries or concerns.”
Station and city officials plan to continue these leadership walks to demonstrate their commitment, friendship and unity to one another.