YOKOHAMA, Japan — Legal efforts to stop dredging in the harbor at Yokosuka Naval Base were rejected in Japanese court last week.

Yokohama District Court on Wednesday rejected a claim by nine Yokosuka residents living near the base who are demanding Yokosuka city withdraw its acceptance, as port manager, of the Japanese government’s plan to dredge 600,000 cubic meters of sediment from Piedmont Pier.

Dredging is needed to berth the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington, which is to replace the conventionally powered USS Kitty Hawk this summer.

Fishermen, peace activists and residents who fish in the port for pleasure claimed that the work could cause environmental deterioration and that having a nuclear-powered carrier at Yokosuka could be dangerous.

City officials testified that the procedure they followed in developing the dredging project complied with the law.

The plaintiffs appealed Wednesday’s ruling to Tokyo High Court on Friday, according to their lawyer, Masahiko Goto.

Commander Naval Forces Japan spokesman Cmdr. David Waterman deferred comment about the case’s outcome.

Dredging is continuing in the Yokosuka harbor, Waterman said, and the Navy and the government of Japan are working together “diligently” on the project.

Another 600 people are seeking suspension of the dredging in a separate legal action against the Japanese government.

The final hearing of that case will be March 25 at Yokohama District Court in Yokosuka.

Yokohama District Court in Yokosuka on Friday also turned down a petition by about 400 Kanto area residents to temporarily halt dredging.

author picture
Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now