Written by Walter T. Ham IV
Japan Coast Guard Rear Adm. Tsuguo Awai, the deputy director general of the Administration Department, presented the lighthouse stamps to Rear Adm. Meredith L. Austin, the U.S. Coast Guard deputy for operations, policy and capabilities.
Austin presented the admiral a U.S. Lighthouse Service coffee mug. The Lighthouse Service became a part of the U.S. Coast Guard in 1939.
The stamps include Japan’s first lighthouse, Kannonzaki, which marks the western entrance to Tokyo Bay. Other stamps in the set honor the 150th anniversary of Hesaki Lighthouse, at the northern tip of Fukuoka Prefecture; Murotosaki Lighthouse, on Muroto Cape on Shukoku Island; and Mikomotoshima Lighthouse, on an islet almost six nautical miles south from the Port of Shimoda.
The 150th anniversary was commemorated at a Nov. 1 ceremony in Japan attended by Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako.
The U.S. Coast Guard and Japan Coast Guard both manage buoys, beacons and lighthouses for their respective nations. U.S. Coast Guard Aids to Navigation (ATON) facilitate more than $4.6 trillion dollars of economic activity across 25,000 miles of U.S. waterways.
The Japanese delegation visited U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters as part of a set of official meetings in Washington, D.C., Nov. 14 – 15.
Austin said the U.S.-Japan alliance is critical to regional security.
“The value of the relationship between our services cannot be overstated,” said Austin, a former Coast Guard Fifth District commander and Pacific Area deputy commander. “Japan is a key partner in the Indo-Pacific region.”
“Our Coast Guards have a long history of collaboration,” said Austin. “We have numerous bilateral exchanges and agreements in place that bolster our cooperation and joint operations to improve maritime security, safety and environmental protection.”
Austin said the Japan Coast Guard recently developed an international training program with Mobile Cooperation Teams, modeled on the U.S. Coast Guard Mobile Training Branch and sent a team to Training Center Yorktown twice to learn about processes and curricula.
“These Mobile Cooperation Teams will serve as a force-multiplier in the region,” Austin added.
Austin said the U.S.-Japan Alliance enhances maritime security through its operations with other regional coast guards in the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum, which Japan started in 2000.
“This multilateral forum works to combat illegal activity and enhance maritime security in the North Pacific and includes the coasts guards of Canada, China and Russia,” said Austin.