SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The USS Ronald Reagan will stop at Sasebo Naval Base this month, its first stop in Japan during its current Western Pacific deployment while the USS Kitty Hawk is undergoing maintenance in Yokosuka, according to news reports.

The Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, will stop at the southern port of Sasebo from Feb. 24 to Feb. 28, the Navy Times and Kyodo News Service reported this week.

Carriers such as the Ronald Reagan, weighing 102,000 tons with a crew of as many as 5,600 sailors, don’t dock at Sasebo, but instead use a port that is about 30 minutes away by boat.

The Ronald Reagan departed from its homeport in San Diego on Jan. 27 to fill in for the Kitty Hawk, a diesel-powered carrier, as it undergoes routine maintenance.

The Ronald Reagan is on a “surge deployment in support of U.S. Navy operations in the Western Pacific,” according to the carrier’s Web site.

The Ronald Reagan strike group includes eight air squadrons within Carrier Air Wing 14, the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain, the guided-missile destroyer USS Russell, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 11, Detachment 15, according to its Web site.

The Ronald Reagan was commissioned in July 2003, making it the ninth and newest Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

The last nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier to visit Sasebo was the USS Abraham Lincoln, which stayed for five days last May, the Navy Times reported.

That visit prompted protest rallies from peace groups and labor organizations.

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