a historic first Australia will take part in Exercise Yama Sakura 85 (YS85) enhancing its  interoperability and mutual defence capability with Japan and the United States. More than 200 Australian Defence Force personnel will take part in the large-scale Command Post Training Exercise involving the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) and United States Army Pacific.​

For more than a decade Australia has been an observer at Yama Sakura (which means mountain cherry blossom). The exercise was first held in 1982 to practise command and control of large-scale combat operations and to improve interoperability between partner nations.

At the conclusion of last year’s Exercise Yama Sakura 83, the Australian Army received an invitation to participate, reinforcing Australia’s special strategic partnership with Japan and strengthening our alliance with the US.

“Australia’s participation in Exercise Yama Sakura 85 is a significant step forward in trilateral cooperation in support of an open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Major General Scott Winter AM, Commander of the 1st (Australian) Division said.

YS85 will involve around 230 members of the Australian Army, 1500 US Army personnel and 5300 JGSDF in locations across Japan and Washington State in the USA, and will be the largest ever iteration of this annual command post exercise.​ The opening ceremony for Yama Sakura 85 took place on 4 December at Camp Higashi-Chitose, outside Sapporo on Japan’s northern island, Hokkaido.


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