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By Ted Scouten

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FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The strong military alliance between the U.S. and Japan is on display this weekend in Broward County.

Japanese military ships with more than 500 sailors on board have docked at Port Everglades. They’re on a training mission and also here to highlight the relationship between our countries.

“It’s more about Japan and the United States, promoting friendship, promoting support among the Americans to this important alliance,” said Ken Okaniwa, Counsel General of Japan.

That alliance is taking center stage lately as Japan’s neighbor, North Korea, tests intercontinental ballistic missiles while it strengths its nuclear capabilities.

“I think this is a very testing time, but our alliance has never been stronger. I think our forces are prepared to deal with a situation that may arise,” said Okaniwa.

Local leaders see the visit as sending a message.

“It’s critical for the peace and stability in Asia that we have a strong maritime task force that coordinates with the American fleet and of course has a very strong presence in Asia,” said Broward County Commissioner Tim Ryan.

The crew of the JS Kashima and the JS Harusame is on a worldwide tour.

Port Everglades is one of five U.S. cities on this trip that began in May.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler says the stop here also puts a spotlight on the substantial economic investment Japan has in South Florida.

“We’re not talking millions, we’re talking billions of dollars creating thousands and thousands of jobs with Japanese companies, Japanese entities with their investments and partnerships here in South Florida,” explained Mayor Seiler.

The ships will remain at Port Everglades until Monday, then they will head off to their next stop in South America.


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