Japanese soldiers are conducting their annual training at the Yakima Training Center this week.

For more than 20 years the Yakima Training Center and the Japanese military have worked together each realizing what the different culture can bring to the table.  U.S. Army, Lieutenant Colonel Dan Rayca

“Because of the size of their country and the fact that they don't have large training facilities it was a good idea to bring them over and partner with them, to not only strengthen our relationship, but also to let them use our training facilities,” U.S. Army, Lieutenant Colonel Dan Rayca explained.

It's a rigorous month long course, aimed at improving skills, but also at strengthening relations between Japan and the United States.

But something this expansive isn't easy to pull off, there are close to 1,000 U.S. soldiers participating this year and more than 500 Japanese soldiers.

It takes months of preparation; as soon as the 2015 program wraps up at the end of September they begin preparing for next year.

The opening ceremonies Tuesday morning between U.S. and Japanese soldiers signified a new start to another year of the rising thunder training.
Live exercises and training between the U.S. and Japanese soldiers will begin Wednesday and will wrap up on September 25th.