CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Oct. 15, 2012) -- More than 500 people participated in a joint ceremony at Yano Fitness Center on Camp Zama, Oct. 13, for the 41st anniversary of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force Zama Sub-post and the 40th anniversary of the 4th Engineer Group.

The official ceremony included not only members from Japan Ground Self Defense Force, or JGSDF, but also distinguished guests from U.S. Army Japan, known as USARJ, Japanese Diet members, assembly members from Sagamihara and Zama cities, and JGSDF retirees.

Col. Yoshihiro Yamasaki, the commander of 4th Engineer Group JGSDF, gave an opening speech and noted the importance of a strong relationship between the JGSDF, USARJ and neighbors in the area.

"Regarding domestic incidents, everyone knows Japan experienced the tragic disaster on March 11th, 2011," said Yamasaki. "In Miyagi prefecture, we cooperated with U.S. Army Japan while conducting Operation Tomodachi. We worked closely by exchanging information so that we could accomplish our mission to remove rubble and find missing people. For all kinds of anticipated disasters, we have improved disaster relief capability by cooperating and coordinating with the 16 municipalities that we are responsible to support."

Col. Eric D. Tilley, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Japan, also gave a speech to honor the anniversary during the ceremony.

A traditional ladder performance by Zama city Fire Station, an arresting technique demonstration by Zama city Police Department and a 4th Eng. Group members' combative demonstration were part of the ceremony.

"I'm so happy they had the opportunity to show everybody the years of service that they have produced here in Japan; and to invite us was really an honor," said Command Sgt. Maj. Katrina M. Najee, command sergeant major of USAG-J. "I'm very excited to see what we can do to help support them as well as them supporting us. I'm open to anything they want to work on to better the bilateral operations that we have here."