CAMP KENGUN - As Yama Sakura 59 focuses on building strong alliances and partnerships, Japanese and U.S. forces have discovered a common bond that has made it easier for them to communicate.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Mario A. Torres and Maj. Seiichi Yokoyama worked together when, by chance, Yokoyama asked Torres about his background and learned that they had something in common - they speak English and Spanish.

Torres added that he tried to communicate in Japanese but he is not fluent in the language.

"I am looking forward to spending more time with my counterpart before the exercise is over," said Torres. "Our friendship has grown personally and professionally because we have many things in common."

"My counterparts are very intelligent and bring a lot to the mission," he added. "They contribute their knowledge and are willing to make improvements to the areas they feel necessary to make this mission a success."

Yama Sakura is an annual, bilateral exercise with Japanese forces and the U. S. military. This year's exercise is a simulation-driven, joint-bilateral, command post exercise and is the 29th iteration of the Japan-based exercise series.

Yama Sakura enhances U.S. and Japan combat readiness and interoperability while strengthening bilateral relationships and demonstrating U.S. resolve to support the security interests of friends and allies in the region. U.S. and Japanese forces exchange ideas, techniques, and military experiences during Yama Sakura.