Japanese Delegation of Miyagi Prefecture visit

Japanese Delegation of Miyagi Prefecture visit

Miyagi Prefecture Vice Governor Akiyoshi Kawabata and members from the Japanese Delegation of Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, speak with Col. Corey Simmons, 436th Airlift Wing vice commander, during a tour of a Team Dover C-17 Globemaster III on Dover Air Force Base, Del., Nov. 7, 2017. Members from the delegation met with 436th Airlift Wing leadership and visited a static C-17 Globemaster III during a tour of Dover Air Force Base, Del. The tour showed Team Dover’s mission capabilities and the growing history between Miyagi Prefecture and Dover AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis)

Japanese Delegation of Miyagi Prefecture visit

Miyagi Prefecture Vice Governor Akiyoshi Kawabata and members from the Japanese Delegation of Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, pose for a group photo with members of Team Dover on Dover Air Force Base, Del., Nov. 7, 2017. Members from the delegation met with 436th Airlift Wing leadership and visited a static C-17 Globemaster III during a tour of Dover Air Force Base, Del. The tour showed Team Dover’s mission capabilities and the growing history between Miyagi Prefecture and Dover AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis)

Japanese Delegation of Miyagi Prefecture visit

Miyagi Prefecture Vice Governor Akiyoshi Kawabata meets with Capt. Dan Davis, 3rd Airlift Squadron pilot, alongside other Team Dover C-17 Globemaster III aircrew and maintenance Airmen during a visit to Dover Air Force Base, Del., Nov. 7, 2017. Members from the Japanese Delegation of Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, met with 436th Airlift Wing leadership and visited a static C-17 Globemaster III during a tour of Dover Air Force Base, Del. The tour showed Team Dover’s mission capabilities and the growing history between Miyagi Prefecture and Dover AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis)

Japanese Delegation of Miyagi Prefecture visit

Miyagi Prefecture Vice Governor Akiyoshi Kawabata and members from the Japanese Delegation of Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, speak with Capt. Paul Buchholz, 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron section commander, on Dover Air Force Base, Del., Nov. 7, 2017. Members from the delegation met with 436th Airlift Wing leadership and visited a static C-17 Globemaster III during a tour of Dover Air Force Base, Del. The tour showed Team Dover’s mission capabilities and the growing history between Miyagi Prefecture and Dover AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Members from the Japanese Delegation of Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, met with 436th Airlift Wing leadership and visited a static C-17 Globemaster III during a tour of Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Nov. 6, 2017. The tour showed Team Dover’s mission capabilities and the growing history between Miyagi Prefecture and Dover AFB. The visit also commemorates the 20th anniversary of Delaware and Miyagi as Sister-States.

“This year marks the 20th anniversary of the sister state relationship between the state of Delaware and the Miyagi Prefecture and on this special occasion we are very happy to be here and I’m especially honored to be able to visit Dover Air Force Base and to meet all of you as well,” said Akiyoshi Kawabata, Miyagi Prefecture vice governor.
Prefectures are areas of Japan that are divided into local government. This is comparable to a state or a province in other countries.

Dover, Delaware, is considered a “friendship city” to Iwanuma, Japan, which is located in the prefecture; but Dover AFB also has a special relationship with the coastal Japanese community. In 2011, the island nation suffered a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and major tsunami. This resulted in more than 15,000 residents left dead, more than 250,000 buildings lay in ruin, and three nuclear reactors being destroyed. Team Dover Airmen were tasked during Operation Tomodachi with sending more than 70,000 pounds of humanitarian relief supplies and a search and rescue team to the areas affected by the disaster.

“We have had a special relationship with the people of Miyagi since 2004, when Dover AFB began hosting an annual visit of middle school students from the city of Iwanuma, Japan. Iwanuma is a friendship city to Dover and is located in the Miyagi Prefecture,” said Capt. Drew Beasley, 3rd Airlift Squadron support flight commander. “On 11 March, 2011, Miyagi was one of the most affected areas after the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. Dover AFB provided extensive C-17A airlift support to Miyagi Prefecture as part of Operation Tomodachi.”

Since that event, citizens from the Japanese Delegation of Miyagi Prefecture have visited the base and the city of Dover many times over the last few years. The people of Miyagi Prefecture still express their gratitude to the men and women who came to their aid.

“The visit was a massive success. Vice Governor Kawabata and his team thanked Dover Airmen for our help with both the disaster response and for hosting Iwanuma's middle school students for the last 13 years,” said Beasley. “Without doubt, the visit strengthened these bonds of friendship between Dover Air Force Base and the Miyagi Prefecture for future generations.”