KOBE – The guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes, which is forward-deployed at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, arrived Tuesday at Himeji port in Hyogo Prefecture on a four-day port call. It is the first time a U.S. military ship has docked at a port in the prefecture since 1975, when the Kobe Municipal Government began demanding that all foreign military vessels certify they are not carrying nuclear arms, city officials said. Ahead of the arrival of the 9,407-ton Vincennes, prefectural authorities inquired through the U.S. Consulates General in Osaka and Kobe whether the vessel is carrying nuclear arms.
|The guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes arrives at Himeji port in Hyogo Prefecture for a four-day goodwill visit.|
In response, the U.S. Navy explained that as a general principle, vessels are not equipped with nuclear arms. However, it declined to discuss individual vessels. Navy officials said they understand the special sentiment the Japanese public has toward nuclear arms.
Given this response, the prefecture determined that the Vincennes did not have nuclear arms on board and agreed to let the vessel dock in Himeji.
Around 400 demonstrators from citizens’ groups and labor unions gathered near the pier where the cruiser docked to express their opposition to its arrival.
Meanwhile, four other Yokosuka-deployed U.S. vessels made port calls around Japan.
The USS John. S. McCain arrived in Shimizu, Shizuoka Prefecture, while the missile frigate USS Gary docked in Nagoya. The missile torpedo boat Cushing and missile frigate Vandegrift called at Wakayama.
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