CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Dec. 2, 2009) -- In the first training deployment for the Japan-based I Corps Forward, the U.S. Army, Pacific and Japan's Ground Self Defense Force will conduct Yama Sakura 57, a joint command-post exercise, Dec. 7-14, at Camp Higashi-Chitose, on Hokkaido, Japan.

Yama Sakura, which means "Mountain Cherry Blossom," is an annual, full-spectrum, combined CPX with U.S. and Japanese military forces working to strengthen Japan's self-defense operations.

This year, USARPAC's Contingency Command Post and I Corps Forward will form the central command and control element for U.S. forces. The annual exercise rotates among each of Japan's five regional armies. This year, the Northern Army will participate.

Also a joint exercise for the United States, Yama Sakura combines U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps elements, including Reserve and National Guard forces. Roughly 1,500 U.S. military personnel and 3,500 Japanese military personnel will participate.

Training objectives include exchanging ideas, military experience and techniques with JGSDF; training U.S. ground forces for deployment to Japan; strengthening JGSDF and U.S. capabilities defending Japan; and preparing USARPAC forces for combined, multi-national and joint operations.

On Dec. 7, the opening ceremony and bi-lateral press conference will be conducted by Lt. Gen. Takeshi Sakai, Northern Army commander, and Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, USARPAC commander.