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U.S. nuclear-powered submarines made 53 port calls in Japan in 2015

  • 2016-01-08 15:00:00
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(Akahata: January 8, 2016 – p. 2)


 The total number of port calls in Japan by U.S. nuclear-powered submarines during 2015 was 53 by 18 submarines, and the submarines stayed in Japan for a total of 204 days, according to records kept by the local governments of the ports that received the submarines.


 Compared to 2014, the number of port calls remained at the same level (50 times in 2014), but the number of submarines increased by 5 and the number of days in port increased significantly by 79.


 The USS Michigan, a massive Ohio-class nuclear-powered guided missile submarine, made a port call in Japan for the first time in three years. Virginia-class fast attack submarines including the USS Hawaii, the USS North Carolina, and the USS Texas visited Japan seven times. The USS Pasadena, the commanding submarine of the 7th Fleet Submarine Force, concentrated its port calls in Japan. These stopovers illustrate that nuclear-powered submarines have been strategically deployed to the Asia-Pacific region under President Obama’s rebalance-to-Asia policy. These submarines appear to be operating in Japanese waters and the western Pacific on account of China’s maritime advancement.


 On Oct. 1, 2015, the USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier powered by two nuclear reactors, was deployed to the U.S. Navy Yokosuka Base (Kanagawa Prefecture). Before the carrier departed Yokosuka on Oct. 15, the USS Cheyenne, a submarine powered by one nuclear reactor, also arrived on Oct. 9 at the same base port. This means three nuclear reactors were located near the capital city of Tokyo at the same time.


 Furthermore, the USS Ronald Reagan entered the Yokosuka base port on Dec. 3, 2015, followed by the USS Texas on Dec 22 and the USS Charlotte on Dec. 23. Until the USS Charlotte left the port on Dec 29, four nuclear reactors were located near the capital city.


 Of the 53 port calls in total, the White Beach Naval Facility (Uruma City) in Okinawa Prefecture received 23 calls (5 less than 2014), the Yokosuka Base received 16 (3 more than 2014), and the Sasebo Base in Nagasaki Prefecture received 14 (5 more than 2014). (Abridged)

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