Protests planned at Yokosuka over new carrier
June 30, 2006
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A three-day sit-in ended Tuesday, but Yokosuka opposition organizers are making more plans to protest the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier scheduled to arrive in 2008.
This involves “hard work,” said Masahiko Goto, a local lawyer and opposition leader, Wednesday as Yokosuka City Mayor Ryoichi Kabaya already announced his support of the new carrier.
The activism comes in the wake of the October news that the USS Kitty Hawk — the Navy’s oldest warship at 45 years old — would be replaced by the USS George Washington.
Goto’s group, “Citizens Coalition Concerning Home-Porting of a Nuclear-Powered Carrier to Yokosuka Naval Base,” has cited concerns about safety and the lack of Japanese oversight into the nuclear reactors housed on the George Washington.
“Today, we presented more signatures on our petition — we have over 500,000 names — but the mayor already said that he will admit the home-porting, so we have to campaign hard,” Goto said.
Plans include holding a mass rally on July 9 at 1 p.m. in Verny Park, which is located next to Yokosuka Naval Base, Goto said. The group also has asked Kabaya to strictly review the applications to dredge near Berth 12, the base’s newly renovated pier and home of the future carrier.
“There are heavy metal contaminants in that area and we don’t want them to spread,” Goto said.