• Kyodo

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Kanagawa Gov. Shigefumi Matsuzawa said Wednesday the prefecture has accepted the U.S. plan to deploy a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at the naval port in Yokosuka in 2008.

“As the utmost safety measures are being taken, inevitably we have to accept” the deployment, Matsuzawa told a news conference.

Yokosuka will host for the first time a U.S. nuclear-powered carrier — the 102,000-ton USS George Washington.

“The U.S. side has repeated that there is no possibility of deploying a conventional carrier,” Matsuzawa said. “It’s impossible for us to halt the deployment of a nuclear-powered carrier.”

The governor said he has decided to accept the new carrier after learning that Japan and the United States will take the utmost care to ensure the public’s safety, including cooperation between the municipal government and the U.S. military to set up a disaster preparedness program.

Yokosuka Mayor Ryoichi Kabaya said in June that the port will accommodate the new carrier.

The Japanese and U.S. governments agreed in October to the replacement of the 86,000-ton USS Kitty Hawk, a conventionally powered flattop, that will be decommissioned in 2008.

The Defense Facilities Administration Agency will start dredging part of Yokosuka Bay in the next fiscal year to prepare for the big carrier, local officials said.

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