Engineers and architects from Japan Engineer District and the Japanese Ministry of Defense met for the fourth Technical Forum on November 9.

The Technical Forum is a venue to allow JED and MOD to come together to share information and their experiences and to strengthen the U.S./Japan Alliance.

"The fourth Technical Forum is an information exchange between engineers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Ministry of Defense," said Mark C. Jones, JED Engineering Division Chief. "Our longstanding engagement of discussion as we work through important issues helps us bring our Alliance together for construction throughout all of Japan."

Members of the JED Team came from Okinawa and Camp Zama for this valuable exchange.

"This is an event where engineers and architects get together to share knowledge, share technical problems, experiences, issues and how to resolve them to better both of our (U.S. and Japanese) programs," said Stephen J. Karwan, Chief-Design Branch Engineering Division.

The day began with a special treat for the attendees, a tour of Ichigaya Memorial Hall. This was a great opportunity for the team to learn more about Japanese heritage and see unique cultural treasures from Japan's history.

After lunch, the Alliance partners gathered in the main venue for the forum. The seating was arranged by disciplines: General Affairs, Architectural, Civil, Communication, Mechanical, Protective Design and Electrical. Practitioners of each discipline sat at the tables, exchanged business cards, and then shared their experiences and expertise during a few hours of vigorous discussion.

The forum opened with remarks from Director Hayato Moro, Engineering Management and Research Division, Bureau of Defense Buildup Planning, Ministry of Defense.

"Since 1998, this forum gives us (MOD and JED) many opportunities for technical exchange," said Moro.

Karwan gave the opening remarks for the JED contingent.

"Our nations are looking for us to work and build bridges together," said Karwan. "This forum is a chance for us to do just that."

The keynote speaker for the event, Assistant Director Daichi Torigoe, Protective Design and Research Office, Bureau of Defense Buildup Planning, MOD, shared what he learned while attending training at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's Protective Design Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

"We just heard and excellent keynote speaker, a Japanese Engineer who spent time with the Corps of Engineers in the Omaha District in Nebraska learning about structural and blast design," said Karwan. "He shared his experiences and now he is back in Japan sharing his knowledge with his colleagues."

Moments like these brought the engineers and architects closer together.
Although the formal portion of the forum ended, many of the attendees chose to have dinner together and continue the day's discussions and build upon the relationships established that day or in prior engagements.

"Meetings, forums and other exchanges like these are the lifeblood of our partnership with Japan," said Karwan. "It allows our two groups to combine and share knowledge for the betterment of both our projects and our Alliance."

Japan Engineer District is one of four Engineer Districts in Pacific Ocean Division, which focuses on the design, management and construction of various host nation and military construction projects. JED delivers high quality, sustainable, comprehensive engineering and construction services in Japan in support of peacetime and contingency operations throughout the region. It successfully executes the full spectrum of required missions as the United States Forces Japan Construction Agent.