Yokota reopens base for annual Friendship Festival

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joshua Edwards
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 374th Airlift Wing hosted the Japanese-American Friendship Festival 2022 on May 21 and 22, the first one in three years.

During the two-day festival, which aims to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the United States and Japan, approximately 110,000 people visited the base.

“I’m excited to have all of you here today to enjoy this weekend’s festivities,” said Col. Andrew Campbell, 374th Airlift Wing commander. “This year’s festival is a true testament to the bond our two nations share and the challenges we’ve overcome together over the past few years. I am honored to be with all of you here today to celebrate the strong friendship the U.S. and Japan share and, more importantly, it's a chance to cultivate and strengthen our partnership.”

Yokota was able to host the event with the support of Japan Self-Defense Force, sister services and the local community.

“Friendship Festival is a great opportunity for JASDF to let people know about us,” said, JASDF Tech. Sgt. Kajitani Norifumi, Operations Support Wing public affairs specialist. “This event represents JASDF participants and their job performance to gain trust and understanding from visitors and allies, which will lead to establishing stronger bonds between local community, U.S. Air Force and JASDF.”

The event featured numerous performances, bands and various vendors highlighting both the on-base and off-base communities.

“Congratulations on the 2022 Japan-U.S. Friendship Festival,” said Hiroyuki Sugiura, Mizuho Town mayor. “I am very pleased to see Yokota Air Base holding this event for the first time in three years. I pray that the bond between Yokota and local community will continue to deepen.”

This year’s event may be over, but festival attendees and local community members expressed their excitement for future opportunities to get together and share more experiences.

“I really wanted to come check out this year’s festival because it was the first time the base has opened in three years,” said Hinano Taira, Friendship Festival attendee. “This was my first time at Yokota and the military members were so friendly. I really enjoyed the F-16 flyby, because it sounded really cool. I will definitely come back and enjoy the festival again.”