From Monday, July 11 to Tuesday, July 19, the crew of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer KIRISAME, anchored in Malakal, Koror, conducted a memorial service and clean-up activities at the former naval cemetery and hosted various cultural events as well as public tours of KIRISAME, with the aim to deepen understanding of the activities of JMSDF for all the residents in Palau. On Tuesday, July 13, the JMSDF members led by Commander SAKATA Atsushi, Commanding Officer of the destroyer KIRISAME, visited the former naval cemetery in Koror with His Excellency KARASAWA Akira, Ambassador of Japan and offered flowers to the cenotaph for the war dead of the Pacific War. Members of the JMSDF and the Koror Women’s Association ‘Maiberel’ also cleaned the cemetery, deepening the Japan-Palau friendship.

On Wednesday, July 14, the Japan-U.S.-Palau Goodwill Softball Games were held at Sukojo in Meyuns. Before the opening of the games, all participants, including the Honorable J. Uduch Sengebau-Senior, Vice President and Minister of Justice, prayed silently for former Japanese Prime Minister ABE Shinzo, who passed away on 8 July. The game between the KIRISAME crew and Belau Force was a heated contest that ended in a 14-17 victory for Belau Force. In closing remarks, the Honorable Charles Obichang, Minister of Public Infrastructure and Industries extended his condolences to the People of Japan on the passing of the former Prime Minister. Also, he expressed his gratitude for Japan’s hosting of the Goodwill Games and his hope for the continuation of “sportsmanship” between Japan, Palau and the US.

On Thursday, July 15, KIRISAME crew members offered judo instruction to students of the Palau Judo Federation. Before the practice began, all participants offered a moment of silence for the former Prime Minister. The event was attended by Ms. Jennifer Anson, Vice President of the Palau Judo Federation, and Ambassador Karasawa of Japan. During the event, 4 of the students tried a ‘randori (freestyle match)’ against the KIRISAME crew and the matches brought the crowd to its feet. After the event, students commented ‘I learned a lot today and I would definitely like them to come back again’.

On Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, 17, public tours of KIRISAME were held. The tours were available in both Japanese and English, and were attended by Palauan citizens, Japanese residents and others. Many of the tours participants gave JMSDF positive feedback, such as, “it was a very valuable experience for me to board a destroyer that I would not normally be able to do.”

Through these events, exchanges with the People of Palau were deepened furthermore. Japan and Palau are continue to cooperate to realize a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” and this goodwill training and exchange are part of concrete efforts between the two countries.

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