When the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force wants to improve their inspector general system, they know where to turn.
Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, Lt. Col. Koichi Ogata, attended The Inspector General School (TIGS) at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, in order to get a close-up look at the American method of inspections. Ogata audited the three-week course from Nov. 28 to Dec. 16.
“I understand that the (knowledge) of many years has been (passed down). In JGSDF we are currently focusing on (on-the-job training), but I would like to evolve our know-how, too,” Ogata said.
Ogata was immersed in the four functions of the Army IG System, including Inspections, Assistance, Investigations and Teaching and Training.
Ogata has returned to Japan to brief his boss, Maj. Gen. Yoshiro Tanaka, the JGSDF inspector general, on what he learned and how the JGSDF can train their inspectors general. Ogata, an infantry officer with 22 years in the JGSDF, is the vice inspector general, Ground Staff Office.
The path for Ogata’s attendance at TIGS started in 2019, when his predecessor was slated to attend in early 2020. However, it was cancelled with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to John Reynolds, the Inspector General of U.S. Army Japan (USARJ).
Despite the pandemic-related challenges, USARJ continued working closely with the JGSDF IGs. “The USARJ IG office has coordinated/completed multiple proactive bilateral IG Staff events each year with our JGSDF IG counterparts,” Reynolds said.
Lt. Gen. Donna W. Martin, the 67th Inspector General, lauded the efforts to help the JGSDF improve their IG system.
“It is crucial that we continue to work with our Allies and Partner Nations across the spectrum of inspector general functions. The benefits are global and impact both readiness and people in a very positive way,” Martin said.
According to Dr. Stephen Rusiecki, the academic dean and deputy commandant of TIGS, the school hosts an average of 8 to 12 international students annually. “In the case of Lt. Col. Ogata, he is a serving IG in the JGSDF, and he audited the course to see how we run our school,” Rusiecki said.
He emphasized the importance of maintaining contact with international students and their respective military agencies. “We continue to be a resource for all partner nation IGs, many of whom routinely use the reference materials posted on our public-facing website,” Rusiecki said. “In my estimation, international students who attend TIGS recognize and become immersed in the U.S. cultural approach to using IGs to enhance readiness through inspections.”
Ogata will assist Maj. Gen. Tanaka in improving future inspector general training for the JGSDF. “All of the education was impressive, but especially the education on interviews was helpful. I learned the general structure of the interview and how to ask questions,” Ogata said.