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YAKIMA, Wash. -- They came thousands of miles to blow stuff up in Yakima.

There are things they can do in Yakima they cannot do in Japan, said US Army Major General Stephen Lanza.

Lanza's soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord are training with 500 soldiers from the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force.

Exercises during the three-week visit include mortar firing, sniper training and live-fire missile launches from Apache helicopters.

I believe we Japanese have the best friendship with the Americans, said Japanese pilot, Major Tomoaki Niho, through a translator.

The American pilots who flew alongside the Japanese during Hellfire missile exercises said they learned something from their Japanese counterparts.

The Japanese operate the Apaches differently than we do so we talk through some of their tactics, techniques, procedures, said Chief Warrant Officer and pilot Steve Frazee.

Soldiers have trained with the Japanese in Rising Thunder exercises in Yakima for 20 straight years.

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