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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 March 7 - 13  > U.S. warships last year visited Japanese civil ports most frequently in 15 years
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2007 March 7 - 13 [US FORCES]

U.S. warships last year visited Japanese civil ports most frequently in 15 years

March 6, 2007
In 2006, U.S. war vessels made port calls at Japanese civil ports most frequently (28 times) in the past 15 years since the former Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

According to material that Japanese Communist Party House of Representatives member Kasai Akira obtained from the Foreign Ministry, the number of port calls last year increased by 11 from the previous year.

This includes the first U.S. warship port call in Kochi Prefecture (Sukumo Bay Port) and the first-in-six-years-port call at Otaru Port in Hokkaido by the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk.

The sharp increase in the number of U.S. port calls is reflecting the U.S. military strategy seeking to use Japanese civil ports as a U.S. stronghold in the Asian Pacific region.

U.S. warships increased their port calls around 1997 when Japan and the U.S. agreed to the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation that allowed the U.S. forces to use Japanese civil ports and airports in the event of U.S. military intervention (so-called “situations in areas surrounding Japan”) in the Asian Pacific region.

Although the number of port calls dropped after that time, it began to increase again when the legislation to deal with contingencies was enacted in Japan in 2004.

Following the 2005 Japan-U.S. agreement on realignment of U.S. forces in Japan stipulating the use of seaports and airports by the U.S. forces, the number of port calls considerably increased.

Under the agreement, the U.S. Navy uses port calls for investigating civil port facilities in detail with the aim of using these ports in the event of emergency.

Akahata has confirmed that U.S. warships have already entered Japanese civil ports at least eight times since the beginning of this year.
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