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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — In one of the tightest competitions in recent memory, Sasebo Naval Base edged out defending champion Okinawa and Yokosuka Naval Base to become the nominee from Navy Region Japan for the Chief of Naval Operations and Secretary of the Navy Safety Award for 2011, Navy officials said.

The base was selected by a board of five personnel from Navy Region Japan because of its low number of accidents, a reduction in car crashes, community outreach, involvement in Operation Tomodachi and the safe storage of nuclear radiated waste from the mission, according to Navy Region Japan spokesman Kordeen Kor and Sasebo base commander Capt. Charles Rock.

Sasebo faces five other region candidates from Europe, Hawaii, and the Marianas in their category. The winners are typically announced in March.

“We’re confident our selection will be one of the top ones,” Kor said. “Things like [their participation] in Tomodachi certainly didn’t hurt… They’ve got a good shot at it.”

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