New U.S. Forces Chief in Japan Toutes Alliance


Tokyo, Feb. 5 (Jiji Press)--The new commander of U.S. Forces Japan stressed on Tuesday that the Japan-U.S. alliance "has never been stronger."

The alliance "has also never been more important to this region than right now as we face increasingly difficult security challenges," Air Force Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider also said in a speech at a ceremony in Yokota Air Base for the handover of the forces' command from Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez to him.

"We must maintain the highest levels of readiness to respond at a moment's notice to any threat, crisis, or humanitarian disaster," the new chief noted. He doubles as commander of 5th Air Force, which is headquartered at the Yokota base and has units at the western Tokyo base, Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture and Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture.

Schneider, who was an F-16 fighter pilot, has worked at the Misawa base and at the U.S. forces in South Korea. He has also served as chief of staff at the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

Martinez, who became U.S. forces commander in October 2016, will retire.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press