Western Tokyo is home to the Yokota Air Base, a United States air force which has resided there since 1940. This was first used as an air base for the Japanese Imperial Army but was requisitioned by the U.S Forces in 1945. During World War II, the Yokota Air Base was the centre of the Japanese army air forces’ flight tests and activities. It also became the first meeting site between Italian and Japanese allies. It now serves as the host base for the headquarters of United States Forces Japan and Fifth Air Force.
The Yokota Air Base say their mission is to ‘generate a professional, resilient, combat-ready force and swiftly project airpower throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region […] to defend [their] nation, support [their] partners and promote a free and stable world’. Their priorities are to care for Airmen and their families and to demand a culture full of dignity and respect. They want to protect and sustain the airpower every day. The air base also wants to build partnerships throughout their region and strengthen the relationship with their current home – Japan.
This is where Tokyo Task Force comes in.
One of Tokyo Task Force’ missions is to build bridges between communities, including between the Yokota Air Base and those in and around Tokyo. The people living on the air base are American, English-speaking citizens and they may feel like they are not part of the Japanese community. These people are far from home and are in a place that will be different and foreign to them. The idea of going out to socialise or meet people from another country may make them feel uncomfortable as they may not know much of their language or culture. Tokyo Task Force believes that sport is a brilliant solution to this problem.
Sport is like a universal language. People recognise the symbol for ‘toilet’ as being an image of a stick man or stick woman. People all around the world understand a man running through a door as being a fire exit. In the same way, sports games can be understood by people around the world, as the rules don’t change. People in the United Kingdom understand baseball, as do people in the U.S or Japan. People in France understand football (or soccer) and as do people in Spain. Tokyo Task Force offers a number of sports choices for people to get involved with, including American Football and baseball, which are popular in Japan and America, so the Yokota Air Base residents may feel quite at home whilst sparking the interest of many local native people. Sport is understood by so many people and it’s the perfect way to form relaxed, friendly relationships between people from different parts of the world. This is a perfect ideology for the residents of the Yokota Air Base as it will help them to feel more relaxed within their new community and help them to build friendships with those around them, as well as allowing them to fully immerse themselves into the new world around them.
Tokyo Task Force is empowering these people to unify with the Japanese community, it has given them a voice and an overall happier life. It well help them to feel good about themselves and gain more self-confidence. It’s truly an ingenious idea that will change the lives of so many people. It may even go deeper and lead to the Yokota Air force residents feeling confident enough to learn the Japanese language or fully immerse themselves in the Japanese culture if they make friends within the community and do things other than sport. It will also aid Japanese people further with their English studies and allow the two nations to help each other in harmony.