CAMP ZAMA, Japan (April 18, 2012) -- A Japanese employee here will be recognized with an award at the Army-wide level for his hard work and dedicated efforts while assigned to the U.S. Army Garrison Japan Safety Office.

Takayuki Kitamura, now a safety program administrator assigned to the U.S. Army Japan Safety Office, was selected as the recipient of the 2011 Individual Award of Excellence in Safety in the contractor division. He and the other winners will be presented their awards by the secretary of the Army and the Army chief of staff during a stateside ceremony this summer.

In an email notification to the winners, Brig. Gen. William T. Wolf, director of Army Safety, wrote that Kitamura's actions "demonstrated the highest level of dedication toward safety and were an integral component in protecting the Army's most valuable resources."

"His thorough knowledge and institution of the Composite Risk Management process [the Army's primary decision-making process to identifying hazards, reduce risk and prevent both accidental and tactical loss] was instrumental in assisting [his] command in accomplishing its overall safety mission," wrote Wolf, also the commander of the Safety Center at the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center.

"This is a great honor for me and my family," said Kitamura, who has worked as a master labor contract employee, or MLC, a Japanese civilian, at Camp Zama for 28 years. "I started working as a ground worker for the Department of Public Works. And then I changed jobs, step by step, as I learned English. And I also learned [about] the U.S. Army mission along the way. I've realized that working as an MLC is an important part of this 'One Team' organization because we all support the Soldiers."

Kitamura provides instruction for the CRM program both in his native language to Japanese employees, and in English to the installation's Soldiers and civilians. He developed the Japanese-language version of the program to ensure all incoming Camp Zama employees could receive the training.

"[His award] is obviously well-deserved because Kitamura always goes the extra mile and is very good at what he does," said James Brouillette, director of the USARJ Safety Office. "I think [the award] should tell every Japanese employee that the Army appreciates what they do. The Japanese employee population here is outstanding considering the quality of work that they put out."

Kitamura said he is justifiably proud of his accomplishments and highly motivated to maintain his high level of safety focus.

"As a foreign national employee working in the Far East, I was thinking that I was just a small piece of the Army in Japan, but the Army is recognizing me with this big award," said Kitamura. "It is good to know that [the Army] recognizes those who really put forth the effort to achieve mission accomplishment and support the Soldiers."