Japan: seaborne protest greets US aircraft carrier

Protesters in small motor-boats flying red flags circled the USS John C. Stennis chanting “carrier get out!” through megaphones as as the warship arrived Feb. 27 for a visit to Japan’s Sasebo Naval Base, outside Nagasaki. Some 100 activists from the Nagasaki Peace Action Center, Rimpeace Sasebo and All Japan Dockworkers Union also gathered on the city’s docks to cheer on the protest flotilla of some 25 boats.

Yukio Nakazaki, chairman of the Nagasaki Peace Action Center, said the opposition to nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered warships drew protesters from Sasebo, Nagasaki and Kanagawa for the action. He recalled that in 1969, some 100,000 protested the visit of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, adding that though the demonstrators are fewer today, “nothing changes in their heart.” (Stars & Stripes, March 1)

The aircraft carrier, a part of the Carrier Strike Group based at Bremerton, WA, had days earlier stopped at Hong Kong. “We’ve got enduring partnerships around the world,” said Strike Group Commander Rear Adm. Mark Vance. “We want to continue these relationships in the Pacific region and provide safety and security for our nation.” (Kitsap Sun, WA, Feb. 19)

See our last posts on Japan and the nuclear threat.