U.S. warship Nimitz makes port call in Sasebo

Kyodo

The U.S. Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz made its first port call at Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, on Monday.

The 91,487-ton Nimitz is the ninth nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to stop at Sasebo port. The last such port call came in February last year and was made by the USS Ronald Reagan.

The carrier, with a crew of about 4,800, is scheduled to be docked at the port in southwestern Japan city for five days to provide the crew with rest and recreation and replenish supplies.

Local labor organizations and other civic groups opposed to the vessel’s visit staged rallies on some 20 boats and on land as the carrier entered port.

Rear Adm. Terry Blake, commander of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, said the vessel is making the port call to serve the security of the western Pacific Ocean.

While declining to say whether the vessel has nuclear arms aboard, he said he understands the sentiment of the Japanese people against such arms.

The Nimitz, commissioned in 1975, left its home port in San Diego on Jan. 24, the U.S Navy said, adding that the vessel will operate in the western Pacific after leaving Sasebo, while the diesel-powered carrier USS Kitty Hawk, based in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, undergoes scheduled maintenance.