The arrival Monday of a U.S. submarine in Sasebo port, Nagasaki Prefecture, without advance notification was due to a misunderstanding by the U.S. Navy in Japan over where the sub was anchored, Foreign Minister Yohei Kono said Tuesday.

The USS Chicago reported the latitude and longitude of its planned anchorage site, which was inside the port, to the Navy, but the coordinates were misunderstood as being a position outside the port, Kono said during his meeting with Nagasaki Gov. Genjiro Kaneko, according to a Foreign Ministry official.

The failure to give at least 24 hours advance notice of a port visit by a U.S. nuclear-powered vessel, as agreed by the two countries, sparked a wave of criticism from local governments Monday.

Kaneko’s meeting with Kono was aimed at urging the central government to take measures against such a failure occurring again. It was the first time the system has failed since it was adopted in 1964.

Kono told Kaneko that James Foster, acting deputy chief at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, visited the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday afternoon to explain why the U.S. military failed to report the movements of the Chicago.

Foster was quoted as saying that it was a simple mistake and that there was no excuse. He also offered an apology, the official said.

The governor told Kono at the outset of their meeting, “There have been a number of times when the 24-hour prior notification was late, but I am surprised at the latest incident. It is a serious issue for the citizens of Nagasaki Prefecture.”

The Foreign Ministry official said the ministry notified Sasebo city officials that the Chicago would not stop at the port upon receiving information to that effect from the U.S. Navy.

Japan and the United States will discuss measures to prevent similar incidents happening in the future at a regular working-level meeting scheduled for Thursday, Kono said.

Request renewed

YOKOSUKA, Kanagawa Pref. (Kyodo) The city of Yokosuka is to renew a request to the U.S. military that it give notice 24 hours in advance before any of its nuclear-powered ships call at Yokosuka port, Yokosuka Mayor Hideo Sawada said Tuesday.

The request, to be made through the Foreign Ministry today, follows Monday’s docking of a U.S. nuclear submarine at Sasebo in Nagasaki Prefecture, a stop made without prior notice.

Sawada told a press conference that Monday’s incident was “deeply deplorable.”

“I am concerned that the trusting relations between the United States and Japan will falter,” he said, adding that such incidents will heighten residents’ concerns.

The 6,082-ton Chicago, with a crew of 130, stopped at Sasebo port for about an hour on Monday morning without prior notification.

According to Yokosuka officials, U.S. nuclear subs have made 663 calls since 1966 at the port, which is southwest of Tokyo. All were made with prior notification.

U.S. fighter crashes

AOMORI (Kyodo) An F-16 fighter jet from a U.S. Air Force base in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture, crashed into the Pacific on Tuesday afternoon, the Defense Agency and police said. The pilot was rescued later.

They said the jet crashed at around 4:30 p.m. and the pilot was rescued by a Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter.

Prefectural police had earlier said the fighter crashed near the Amagamori firing range in Misawa and its pilot had parachuted to safety.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.