Hundreds of Japanese officers and crew members are visiting Anchorage. They arrived Wednesday on two ships currently docked at the Port of Anchorage.

The officers and crew are members of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force. Of the 580 people on board, 200 are newly commissioned officers who are undergoing leadership training on a five-month mission at sea. Anchorage is one of the last stops on their journey.

Anchorage is one of the last stops on their journey.

In addition to military training, the Defense Force is also reaching out a hand in friendship at the ports they visit, including Anchorage. On Thursday members of the Force's military band visited Central Middle School of Science. Students were treated to a rare show of authentic Taiko drumming as well as music from the band. Central teacher Erika Ninoyu, who helped

On Thursday members of the Force's military band visited Central Middle School of Science. Students were treated to a rare show of authentic Taiko drumming as well as music from the band. Central teacher Erika Ninoyu, who helped

Central teacher Erika Ninoyu, who helped arrange the visit, said the students seemed to really enjoy it.

"I haven't seen that kind of enthusiasm all year long, whether it be a sports game or anything else," said Ninoyu. "I'm just thrilled. The whole time I was keeping back my tears."

But while promoting friendship and spreading goodwill are an important part of the mission, it comes at a delicate time. In August, North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Northern Japan. In September, the North Korean President threatened to sink Japan into the sea with a nuclear strike. Masatoshi Sato, head of the Japanese Consul in Alaska says he knows Alaskans are worried too.

Masatoshi Sato, head of the Japanese Consul in Alaska, says he knows Alaskans are worried, too.

"We are aware that Alaskan leaders share the concerns of Japan vis-a-vee the threat of North Korea," said Sato.

Adding that the presence of the ships is a sign of the strong military alliance between the two nations.

Sato said Japan supports President Trump's recent remarks that "all options are on the table" when it comes to dealing with North Korea.

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