20-009 | June 20, 2020
United States Forces Japan Office of Public Affairs provides the following readout from today’s visit to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni by Minister of Defense Taro Kono:
U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) and U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni (MCASI) hosted Defense Minister Taro Kono today during a visit to the Yamaguchi prefecture. USFJ Deputy Commander, Brig. Gen. James Wellons, and MCASI
Commander, Col. Lance Lewis, both U.S. Marine Corps officers, met the Minister and briefed him on a number of bilateral issues.
Brig. Gen. Wellons assumed his current position on June 7, 2020, and this visit marked his first opportunity to meet with Minister Kono. Gen. Wellons is the U.S. chairman of the Joint Committee, co-chaired by the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Col. Lewis has been the commander at MCASI since Aug. 23, 2019.
The visit began with an orientation of MCASI airfield operations, led by Col. Lewis. During this discussion, Gen. Wellons took the opportunity to highlight local Marine training requirements and requested the Minister’s attention to improve access to airspace and improve bilateral training.
Gen. Wellons also discussed his role in the Joint Committee and highlighted the committee’s role supporting U.S. training and operations. He expressed his gratitude for the ministry’s support in ensuring the successful deployment of the U.S. aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan this month.
Gen. Wellons also discussed the importance of moving field carrier landing practice from Iwo Jima to a future JASDF facility on Mageshima and thanked the Minister for his ongoing support.
Both officers also conveyed their deep appreciation for the strong local understanding and support among the people of Yamaguchi and Iwakuni.
Gen. Wellons concluded by thanking the Defense Minister for his visit and the opportunity to highlight the strength of the alliance.