Navy Surgeon General Discusses the Strength of US - Japanese Relations During Visit to Naval Hospital Yokosuka
YOKOSUKA, Japan - The senior-most medical corps officer in the United States Navy visited Naval Hospital Yokosuka June 4 during his tour of Navy medical facilities in the Western Pacific. Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson, Jr. met with hospital leadership, toured the facilities and spoke with the Navy medical team about the strength of the U.S. bilateral relationship with Japan during an all hands call held in the Adm. Arleigh A. Burke Commissioned Officers Mess.
"Our relationship with Japan is based on shared values and interests that rest on the mutual confidence embodied in the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security which was signed fifty years ago," said Robinson.
“We have a very similar Maritime Strategy to that of the United States,” said Japanese Army Maj. Toshihiro Yamasaki, joint medical plans and operations officer for the Ministry of Defense in Japan. “We want to work with other nations in this region to help stabilize the Pacific.”
During a media availability with Japanese reporters at the hospital, Robinson said that the challenges facing the U.S. and Japan are not isolated to matters of security but also include matters of health and medicine.
"I believe that medicine is a common language that bridges barriers," said Robinson. "Our two nations have come together to learn from one another and find new ways to better care for our citizens. Patient's health transcends national borders as each of us provides care for the others' citizens. Our doctors train together, learn together and practice medicine together."
Robinson highlighted that the hospital was enjoying greater cooperation in sharing of information and technology with their Japanese counterparts, as well as, conducting equipment exchanges and operational coordination.
"In Southeast Asia we have a lot of natural disasters, like typhoons, earthquakes and floods," said Japanese navy Lt. Tobita Mori, a periodontist with the Kunisaki. "Having missions like Pacific Partnership gives us the opportunity to train. We are prepared to react to real disasters after having performed on missions like these."
"These valuable exchanges have bolstered the joint and bilateral interoperability between the U.S. and Japanese medical communities," said Robinson.
"This mission strengthens our ability to work with other countries and their languages," said Yamasaki. "We build relationships with the local people during peacetime, and that face-to-face interaction builds on our ability to work together in the future."
According to Naval Hospital Yokosuka commanding officer, Capt. Kevin Moore, the presence of U.S. military installations and requisite hospitals has benefitted Japanese citizens through employment opportunities and exchanges such as one-year rotating internship program for Japanese physicians that have been conducted since 1952.
Moore stated that the hospital recently hosted a representative of the Japan National Institute of Public Health here in this hospital recently where he taught a new program called TeamSTEPPS which was designed to improve teamwork and communication between U.S. Navy and Japanese physicians to better serve their patients.
"This program is on the cutting edge of Japanese and American medicine and has helped to bring our doctors closer together," said Moore. Robinson's tour of Navy medical facilities in the Western Pacific included stops in Okinawa and a visit to USNS Mercy in Quy Nohn, Vietnam where the Navy hospital ship was participating in Pacific Partnership 2010. During the Mercy's visit to Binh Dinh province from May 31 to June 12, the Pacific Partnership team will conduct numerous medical, dental engineering, and veterinary civic action programs.
"Pacific Partnership's visit to Vietnam is a testament to the strong bilateral relations between the U.S. and Vietnam, demonstrating our continued commitment to work together to address mutual issues and concerns," said Robinson. "We look forward to exploring further opportunities to collaborate in the future in areas of public health research, medical education and other areas."
Pacific Partnership 2010 participants include volunteers from the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) East Meets West Foundation (EMWF), Latter-day Saint Charities, Peace Winds America, Project Hope, Vets Without Borders, World Vets, and University of California San Diego (UCSD) Pre-Dental Society. In addition, Japanese NGO composition consists of Operation Civic Force, HUMA, and UNIES. Medical and engineering professionals from Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Singapore, United Kingdom, and the U.S. military are participating. Medical personnel from Vietnam will work with the ship to provide medical care in partnership with their American and international counterparts.