As champion of force-on-force training with US Marines, Japanese colonel paid ‘political’ price | Stars and Stripes

The Marines at Camp Fuji had never trained with their counterparts at five surrounding Ground Self-Defense Force garrisons before the Shinka exercise in 2021, Bodisch wrote. A second, monthlong exercise was held in March.

Shinka, which translates to “infinitely improving,” paired two Marine infantry companies against a Japanese mechanized battalion, according to the Marine Corps and Indo-Pacific Command. The exercise allowed both sides to flex their muscles in a multidomain setting, Bodisch said.

Shinka proved valuable for both militaries in many areas, Bodisch wrote, and helped hone them as stand-in forces ready to fight on key island terrain. The stand-in force concept is a part of Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger’s Force Design 2030 doctrine.

But a year later, just after the second Shinka exercise, Kondo retired. During the award ceremony at III MEF headquarters, Kondo said his enthusiasm for bilateral training had hit a political ceiling.



follow us

Sign up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets
from around the world.

Sign Up Now