On Thursday, January 12, 2nd Tactical Airlift Wing, Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) visited Palau International Airport for international flight training and displayed U-4, multi-purpose support aircraft, inviting Vice President Hon. Uduch Sengebau Senior, Ambassador H.E. Orikasa Hiroyuki, Traditional Leaders, OEK Members, Cabinet Members, Smile Air, and Japanese Community Members. This event was held with the support of the Embassy of Japan in Palau in order to further build up the trust between the two countries through deepening understanding of activities of JASDF in Pacific Island countries to the people of Palau.

JASDF has been actively promoting defense cooperation and exchanges with countries in the Indo-Pacific region, which share fundamental values, and working to uphold and reinforce “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” vision. Japan is pursuing the FOIP vision through a coordinated whole-of-government approach. The government of Palau has consistently supported it.

Vice President/Minister of Justice Hon. Sengebau Senior welcomed the U-4 crew and stated that “This operation can contribute to the effort to maintain and strengthen FOIP vision. And we thank you for being a partner of Palau and continuing with our shared values of democracy, rule of law, freedom and peace and security. We welcome more visits in the future.”

Ambassador Orikasa stated that “Japan strongly believes in the fundamental concept of FOIP and is committed to ensuring the security of this island nation. The presence today of JASDF to offer the Government and the people of Palau the opportunity to inspect a U4 aircraft demonstrates the closeness of Japan’s relationships with Palau just one month after the momentous “Christmas drop” conducted in December last year.”

Maj Tanoue Junichi, Captain of the JASDF aircraft U-4 stated that “All of U-4 crew are impressed with the warm welcome of the people of Palau. The relationship between Japan and Palau is truly special or tokubets. Going forward, JASDF would like to continue contributing to the peace and stability of the international community, together with the people and the government of Palau based on the FOIP vision. We are going to visit Palau again soon.”

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