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JMSDF training ship, Kashima, to visit Seattle, June 15-18, 2011

The Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle is pleased to announce that the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) will be sending a training squadron to multiple ports in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Chile, from June to October 2011. After visiting Anchorage, the flagship “KASHIMA,” will visit Seattle from June 15th to 18th. “KASHIMA” is staffed by about 300 crew members, including 116 officer trainees in the JMSDF.

The essential purpose of this voyage is to provide junior officers the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills required to become career officers, while also cultivating their seamanship as well as promoting friendly relations with the countries they are visiting.

This year’s visit to the US is especially meaningful to Japan, which has received significant assistance from the US and its military, in response to rescue and recovery efforts immediately following the devastating earthquake and tsunami which struck the Tohoku region this past March.

This visit symbolizes the strength and friendly relations currently shared by the US and Japan and more importantly, allows the crew of these training ships the chance to personally engage in cross-cultural exchange with Americans at the grassroots level. The hope is that such interactions will foster even stronger ties between Japan and the US in the future.

The squadron is led by:

(1) Rear Admiral Umio Otsuka, Commander of the JMSDF Training Squadron
(2) Captain Masatoshi Kashihara, Vice-Commander and Commanding Officer of KASHIMA

In Seattle, other than training activities for the officer trainees, their plans include courtesy calls by the Commander and Vice-Commander to dignitaries in Washington State, wreath laying at the Washington State War Memorial and the War Memorial of Japanese Americans, an on-board luncheon, a reception, and an opening of the ships to the public.

Squadrons from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force have made voyages like this since 1957, this year reaching their 55th journey accross the pacific. 80% of these voyages have included visits to U.S. ports as their destinations.  The last time any such vessel visited Seattle was 1998, when JMSDF Escort Flotilla stopped by. The journey of the JMSDF Kashima to Seattle will include cultural exchange with the local community and the US Navy. Events open to the public are listed as follows.

Welcome Ceremony at Pier 66
(Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 10:00 AM)
A welcome ceremony will be hosted/attended by the members of the Port of Seattle, US Navy, and the local Japanese and Japanese American community.  The Kashima's marching band will play music on board during the entry operation.

First Pitch by Captain Kashihara at the Seattle Mariners' vs. Angels Game
(Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 7:00 PM)
For this special occasion the marching band from the JMSDF Kashima will play the US National Anthem at the beginnings of the game.

Floral Tribute at Washington State War Memorial
(Thursday, June 16, 4:00 PM)
Place:2nd & University, behind Benaroya Hall, Downtown Seattle

Floral Tribute at Nikkei War Memorial
(Thursday, June 16, 4:45 PM)
KASHIMA’s commanding officers will visit Lake View Cemetery and offer flowers to the spirits of the American soldiers.

SPECIAL EVENT: Open House of KASHIMA for general public
(Friday, June 17, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM)
Marching bands from KASHIMA and US Navy will play music and tours open to the public will be conducted onboard JMSDF Kashima. Tours are available free of charge at Pier 66. Pre-registration is not required.

KASHIMA and US Navy Marching Bands to Perform at Westlake Plaza, Downtown Seattle
(Friday, June 17, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM)
Note: presentation may be canceled in case of foul weather

JMSDF KASHIMA Departs from Seattle
(Saturday, June 18, 9:00 AM)

Consulate-General of Japan
601 Union Street, Suite 500 Seattle, WA 98101