American and Japanese Admirals Honor Sailors Enshrined at Sasebo Cemetery
SASEBO, Japan (Nov. 18, 2015) A joint flower-laying ceremony was held at a Japanese naval cemetery in Sasebo, Nov. 17, 2015. The flowers were laid to pay respect to the Japanese sailors who have died in the performance of their duties by U.S. Navy Commander, 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Joseph P. Aucoin and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Commandant, Sasebo District Vice Admiral Kazuki Yamashita.
Aucoin participated in the ceremony at the invitation of Yamashita.
“I feel very strongly that the relationship between the United States and Japan is important to this region for the security, for the stability, for the peace and prosperity,” said Aucoin. “I feel every day with us working together, JMSDF and 7th Fleet, shows our combined resolved and will ensure we have unfettered access to the global commons.”
The wreath was laid at the maritime defenders memorial in Higashiyama Park, Sasebo’s oldest military cemetery, which enshrines the souls of 170,000 service members and naval base employees. Originally established as an Imperial Japanese Army cemetery, in 1891 the Imperial Japanese Navy purchased the land and used it until the end of World War II. It has since been used by the JMSDF and is among the largest naval cemeteries in Japan.
“While the security environment is greatly changing, the Japan-U.S. alliance leads to not only our country's security but also the world's security,” said Yamashita. “We need to work together hand-in-hand."
Aucoin also thanked the people of Sasebo for hosting U.S. 7th Fleet forces.
The ceremony was part of Aucoin’s first visit to Sasebo as Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet.
Also present for the ceremony were U.S. Navy Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Seven Rear Admiral John B. Nowell Jr., and Commander, U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo Capt. Matthew D. Ovios, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff, Sasebo District Rear Admiral Katsuto Duguchi, Administrative Officer, Sasebo District Capt. Toshihiko Shoho and Accounting Officer, Sasebo District Capt. Masahiro Matsuura.