On March 24, 2016 at his official residence in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, the Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles, Harry H. Horinouchi, hosted the first and inaugural “Service in Japan Alumni” reception of Los Angeles in honor of members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses who have been stationed at American bases in Japan.
The evening event included freshly prepared Japanese cuisines of sushi, shabushabu and okonomi-yaki, superb sakes and other refreshments, entertaining cultural programs of Japanese folk song and jazz fusion music by Minyo Station and tea ceremony demonstrations by the Urasenke Los Angeles Association
Over 100 active service members, reservists, veterans, and their families from Los Angeles, San Diego and Arizona enjoyed foods and drinks, networking and camaraderie with colleagues.
“Service in Japan Alumni” reception was emceed by Mr. Doug Erber, president of the Japan America Society of Southern California, and the following distinguished guests were introduced:
Col. James Bell who was stationed in Yokota from 1998 to 2001, currently at Space and Missile System Center in Los Angeles Air Force Base; Mr. Richard Weir (Lt. Col. Ret.) who was Deputy Chief, Northeast Asia Division, The Joint Staff in Pentagon, and Japan Country Director in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, currently with Northrop Grumman Corporation; Mr. Karl Risinger who was in Japan from 1994 to 2005, currently Adjutant to the Hollywood American Legion Post 43; Mr. Frank Pierson, 91-year-old, who landed Sasebo, Japan in 1945; Captain Michael Kelly (Ret.) who was sent to Yokosuka in 1985; and Mr. James Gill who was stationed in Misawa from 1986 to 88.
The Japanese consul general’s “Service in Japan Alumni” reception was the third event of the Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP) in the Southern California. The JUMP is a collaborative effort between Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, the Embassy of Japan in the U.S.A. and the National Association of Japan-America Society.
The previous JUMP events in Southern California were the Aug. 10, 2015 event at Petco Park in San Diego and the Nov. 19, 2015 event aboard Battleship USS Iowa Museum at San Pedro Port.
On Aug. 10, Navy personnel from the San Diego area joined members of the Japan Society of San Diego and Tijuana to watch the San Diego Padres game at Petco Park.
The Nov. 19 USS Iowa event was sponsored by the Japan America Society of Southern California and the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles.
The next JUMP event will be held at Petco Park in San Diego on June 14, 2016.
Approximately 55,000 U.S. service personnel are stationed in Japan under the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, with addition of their families and U.S. civilian employees bringing the total figure to more than 100,000.
For many, their time of deployment in Japan ranks among the most positive experiences of their military careers, and they maintain an interest and understanding of Japan based upon their time spent there.