YOKOSUKA, Kanagawa Pref. — For the first time in six years, the U.S. Navy will not host the closing ceremonies of this city’s annual “mikoshi” parade Sept. 27 due to increased security measures against terrorist incidents directed against the United States.
In a statement released over the weekend, Capt. James Wylie, commander of the naval base here, said: “Security measures and awareness have been increased at all U.S. bases around the Pacific and worldwide. We have taken this measure keeping the safety of U.S. and Japanese personnel who live and work on or near the bases in mind.”
Wylie added that the base does “sincerely regret the inconvenience this will cause to our gracious Japanese hosts, and hope the world situation will allow us to resume hosting a portion of the mikoshi parade again next year, as we have for the last several years.”
The parade of portable shrines has concluded inside the base since 1992 as a quasi-open house event, complete with live entertainment and food stands, even borrowing a shrine and fielding a team of all-military shrine carriers.
The naval base has been on a heightened security threat posture since the U.S. launched cruise missiles Aug. 20 against suspected terrorist targets in Afghanistan and Sudan following the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa. The security measures include strict identification checks for base visitors, which is not feasible for several thousand people attending such a large festival.
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