IWAKUNI CITY, Japan --
U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni personnel and Iwakuni City officials attended a scoreboard lighting ceremony at Kizuna “Bond” Stadium in Iwakuni City, Japan, July 19, 2017.
The scoreboard lighting attendees included U.S. Marine Corps Col. Richard F. Fuerst, commanding officer of MCAS Iwakuni, Sgt. Maj. Christopher J. Garza, sergeant major of MCAS Iwakuni, members of the air station’s Defense Policy Review Initiative team, Yoshihiko Fukuda, mayor of Iwakuni City, and Takahiro Sugawara, director general of Chugoku-Shikoku Defense Bureau.
The ceremony offered a private viewing of the almost completed stadium that is to be used by local U.S. and Japanese residents.
“It’s a pleasure to be here today with Mayor Fukuda and Director General Sugawara as we celebrate the lighting of this magnificent scoreboard,” said Fuerst. “This facility will bring so much excitement and entertainment to the people of Iwakuni City and the surrounding towns in the prefecture, to include the service members and their families.”
Fuerst congratulated and thanked Fukuda, Sugawara and their staff whose years of planning and supporting the effort have resulted in the new facility.
In addition to the almost completed stadium, housing and additional sports facilities are being developed in the area.
Sugawara said the family housing area and sports facilities, which are necessary for the transfer of the carrier air wing, are being developed. He added that it would be nothing without the efforts of Col. Fuerst, staff from MCAS Iwakuni, and the cooperation and understanding from the people and mayor of Iwakuni City about the stable operational usage of the Iwakuni airfield.
Although the housing will be available to U.S. service members and their families, the sports facility will be available to the local Japanese community and support efforts in solidifying bonds.
"The U.S. and Japanese alliance is crucial to our collective success in the Indo-Asia Pacific,” said Fuerst. “Facilities like this and the cooperation it took to build this facility reinforce the important relationship that we have. Through sporting and other events that will be held at this facility, we will enhance and strengthen our relationship. We will practice our leadership skills and build teamwork and camaraderie. We will experience the thrill of victory and probably the agony of defeat, on occasion. Most importantly we will continue to build our relationship on the mutual respect we have for each other and will have some fun along the way.”
With construction beginning in October 2015, the sports facilities, including the stadium, are scheduled to be finished no later than March 2018.
Fukuda said he wanted to express from the bottom of his heart that the bond between the city people and the station residents will be deeper. He added that he wanted to express his appreciation to those who helped with the project.