Yokosuka citizens collect 72,000 signatures against U.S. aircraft carrier homeport

A citizens' group in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, on May 14 visited the Yokosuka City Office to submit a written request with 72,245 signatures in opposition to using Yokosuka Bay as U.S. nuclear carriers' homeport.

Yokosuka has been used by the U.S. Navy as a homeport for the aircraft carriers Independence, Midway, and Kitty Hawk since 1973. With several billion yen of "sympathy budget" from the Japanese government, the 12th berth of the U.S. Yokosuka base will be extended to 414 meters as a first step to construct a U.S. nuclear aircraft carriers' homeport after the USS Kitty Hawk retires in 2008.

The Citizens' Association to Consider the Question of Homeporting at Yokosuka by Nuclear Carriers is requesting that Yokosuka City disapprove the additional work on the 12th berth and reject nuclear aircraft carriers' visits to the port.

Lawyer Goto Masahiko of the Citizens' Association said, "In Atsugi City, citizens' power influenced the local government and they were able to realize the cancellation of U.S. night landing practices (NLP) and air shows. I want Yokosuka City also to put priority on citizens' safety and lives." (end)