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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 October 5 - 11  > Peace group in Hakodate protests against port call of US destroyer
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2022 October 5 - 11 [US FORCES]

Peace group in Hakodate protests against port call of US destroyer

October 9, 2022

A civic group in Hakodate City in Hokkaido working to defend peace and the Constitution on October 7 held a rally at Hakodate Quay in protest against a port visit of the U.S. Navy missile destroyer "Benfold" to Hakodate Port.

In time with call-outs by Ito Ai of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) Hakodate local, protesters shouted in unison, "No military provocations! Peace for Hakodate!"

Honma Katsumi of the Japanese Communist Party Hakodate District Committee in the rally pointed out that past port visits made by U.S. warships to Hakodate had supposedly been for "friendship" purposes, but this time it was designated as a "normal" port call for the first time. Honma expressed his concern, "Does a U.S. warship port call for 'normal' purposes mean the same as for 'military' purposes?" He added, "If so, we cannot accept the entry of the warship."

On the day before the arrival of USS Benfold, the civic group and JCP Honma made a representation to the Hakodate City government, requesting that Benfold's port entry permission be withdrawn.

Iwase Hideo, secretary general of the Zenroren Hakodate local, handed a letter of protest to Tabata Satofumi, chief of the city authority's department of port, harbor, and airport. Iwase said, "The U.S. missile destroyer made its port visit to Hakodate when military tensions with Russia's invasion of Ukraine and North Korea's missile launches are seriously intensifying, and when the U.S., Japan, and South Korea are conducting joint military exercises and war games. The city authority should be opposed to the port call of the USS Benfold at a time like this."

The city port authority official in response said, "I went to eastern Hokkaido on a business trip the other day and I realized that tensions are increasing. I understand very well what you mean and will convey your request to Mayor Kudo Toshiki."

The USS Benfold belongs to the 7th Fleet and is deployed to the U.S. Yokosuka Naval Base in Kanagawa Prefecture. The Yokosuka-based U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier "Ronald Reagan" in September participated in Japan-U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises for the first time in five years. The USS Benfold also participated in the exercises.

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