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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Yokosuka city will resume Yokosuka Naval Base historic tours in September after a six-month suspension, base and security officials said last week.

The city halted the tours in March citing no-shows and funding issues.

Now the tours, which began in 1998, are being brought back by popular demand — with a couple of changes, said city’s tourism division official Kazuya Amakasu.

Tour dates have been set for Sept. 30, Dec. 16 and Feb. 17, Amakasu said. Each will last four to five hours in three 30-person groups lead by volunteer tour guides, two volunteer translators and two military servicemembers to provide security, he said.

Previously, the city paid the nonprofit Yokosuka International to coordinate and operate the tours and pay English-speaking guides. Tours were six times a year, with so many people applying that a lottery was held. The tour stopped at 20 on-base historic sites.

Unlike tours past, the new route will also lead off base to historical sites at Verny Park, Mikasa Park and the Honch area, Amakasu said. Base stops have not been finalized but will likely include Dry Dock 1 and 2 and the headquarters buildings on Command Hill, he added.

Taking volunteer translators along is also new, as one of the high points of the tour is the chance for the Japanese to chat with American sailors, said base Community/Media Relations Director Kyoko Sugita.

Twenty minutes of “communication time” is scheduled after lunch, she said.

Having volunteer translators will make that exchange “more interesting and exciting,” Sugita said.

“Locals citizen don’t have many opportunities to talk to our sailors directly,” Sugita said. Already, 13 base workers with good English and Japanese language abilities have volunteered, she said.

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