Navy ships and military aircraft draw tens of thousands to Yokosuka’s ‘friendship’ event
By CHRISTIAN LOPEZ | Stars and Stripes | Published: August 5, 2019
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Nearly 40,000 Japanese locals recently congregated under the hot summer sun to tour naval ships, see military aircraft up close and feast on American barbecue while getting to know their neighbors on the base.
Yokosuka’s annual friendship day on Saturday drew thousands to the base pier, where they waited in a massive line to tour the 7th Fleet’s flagship, USS Blue Ridge, and the Japanese destroyer JS Yugiri.
A CV-22 Osprey from the 21st Special Operations Squadron at Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo was also on display.
“Seeing the different ships each time is very nice, but my favorite part is always meeting all of the kind American servicemembers who live on base,” said Yokosuka resident Shohei Tanaka.
The event also offered a multitude of food stalls selling American barbecue delights like pulled pork sandwiches and baked beans with ice-cold beer to combat the summer heat.
A symphony of fireworks colored the sky to mark the end of this year’s friendship event.
Yokosuka’s next open-base event will be a parade of portable Shinto shrines called mikoshi on Oct. 20.