Strengthening bonds through 48th Japanese-American Friendship Festival

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Natalie Doan
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 374th Airlift Wing opened its gates to welcome 302,000 visitors to the 48th Annual Japanese-American Friendship Festival at Yokota Air Base, Japan, May 18–19. 

For two full days, the base invited the public to celebrate the enduring partnership between the U.S. and Japan through aircraft static-displays, live music, food vendors, and aerial exhibitions.

“This is truly an amazing event that highlights the enduring partnership between our countries,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Andrew Roddan, 374th AW commander. “Every year, we are proud to host this event because it provides our surrounding community with a unique perspective of our service members and their vital mission in the Pacific region. It also gives us an opportunity to thank our friends and neighbors for their continued support of Yokota Air Base.”

Attendees observed several flying demonstrations throughout the festival, including a flyover from the Pacific Air Forces F-16 Viper Demonstration Team and a capabilities exercise from the 459th Airlift Squadron. They also witnessed the 36th Airlift Squadron conduct a personnel drop of 45 Japan Ground Self-Defense Force paratroopers from two C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to showcase the joint readiness between the U.S. and Japan.

“Together with former base commanders, including Col. Roddan, we have strived to strengthen cooperation between Japan and the United States to foster mutual understanding with the local community,” said Japan Air Self-Defense Force Col. Hiroyuki Ishii, Operations Support Wing commander. “I hope that visitors will be able to experience firsthand the partnership between the U.S. Air Force and JASDF, which combines the best aspects of our countries.” 

The 374th AW hosted this year’s festival with the support of the JGSDF, JASDF, and local community as well as units from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Navy. 

Events like Friendship Festival provide an opportunity for members of Yokota and the surrounding community to come together and strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance in an effort to support bilateral forces that preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific region.