SASEBO, Nagasaki Pref. – The U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier John C. Stennis made a port call Saturday at Sasebo port in Nagasaki Prefecture.
It was the third port call by a nuclear-powered carrier in as many years, following one in August 2002 in Sasebo and another in May 2003 in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.
The 102,000-ton vessel, which engaged in drills with the U.S. carrier Kitty Hawk and the Maritime Self-Defense Force after leaving San Diego, is scheduled to leave the port Wednesday.
Members of local labor organizations opposing the vessel’s visit staged a protest throughout the day.
While some 100 unionists organized a public rally at 7:50 a.m. in the city, others approached the aircraft carrier aboard 20 fishing boats, sailing around the flattop.
In the afternoon, more than 1,000 people from the labor groups and some 300 members of citizens’ groups organized an additional antinuclear rally.
“I have been suffering from radiation since an A-bomb was dropped on Nagasaki 59 years ago,” said 79-year-old Nagasaki native Hideo Morimune. “I don’t feel good about a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier entering a port here. I hope there will be no accident.”
Concerns about the safety of nuclear power have been under the spotlight after an accident at the No. 3 reactor in the Mihama Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture killed four workers earlier this month.
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