The U.S. Navy will build state-of-the-art training facilities at its Yokosuka Base (Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture) to train sailors for Aegis and other warships, Shimbun Akahata learned on March 16. A local peace group is criticizing the move, saying, “The U.S. Navy is building up Yokosuka as a base for military operations in the Indo-Pacific region.”
The U.S. Navy is building semanship and combat training facilities that will feature a Combined Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) / Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Trainer (CIAT). On Feb. 15, the Japan Engineer District Headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Camp Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture) initiated market research in preparation for selecting a building contractor within this year.
The scheduled site for the construction is right next to commercial facilities that face the main district of the Port of Yokosuka. Located near the site are domiciles and the Yokosuka City General Welfare Hall.
A CIAT can train sailors in the operation of all monitoring devices and weapons, including sonars and maritime surveillance radars, used by cruisers, destroyers, and other warships. CIATs have been built at U.S. naval bases in San Diego, CA, on the Pacific Coast in 2018 and in Norfolk, VA, on the Atlantic Coast in 2019. This is the first CIAT to be built outside the continental United States.
In 2021, an additional five Aegis destroyers and two cruisers/destroyers were deployed to Yokosuka Base, meaning that the base now has a total of 11 destroyers. Next to the site set to host the training facilities is the Maritime Self-Defense Force Anti-Submarine Warfare Center. There is the risk that the new American facilities will lead to strengthening the framework for joint Japan-U.S. training and operations.
Niikura Yasuo, secretary general of the Miura Peninsular Liaison Council against the Deployment of a U.S. Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier, comments, “A new facility for joint U.S.-Japan training is being built today when the U.S. Navy is containing China and placing military pressure on Russia amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The existence of this new facility will drag the people of Yokosuka into war. The construction of this kind of military facility must be canceled immediately and the plan withdrawn.”