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October 27, 2005

Navy to base nuclear carrier in Japan

The U.S. Navy announced Oct. 27 that one of its nine Nimitz-class aircraft carriers will replace USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as the forward-deployed carrier in the Western Pacific, and will arrive in Yokosuka, Japan in 2008.

The Navy says Kitty Hawk is nearing the end of its service life and will return to the United States in 2008 to be decommissioned.

The Navy says the forward deployment of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier ensures the ability of commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet to fulfill the U.S. government's commitment to the defense of Japan, and the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East in support of the treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.

The Navy says the ship rotation is part of its long-range effort to routinely replace older ships assigned to the Navy's forward deployed naval forces with newer or more capable platforms, and is part of an ongoing effort to consider the nature of all forward deployed forces when looking at the unpredictable security environment in the Western Pacific.

Since 1964, U.S. nuclear-powered warships have visited Japanese ports more than 1,200 times. "From the beginning," says the Navy announcement, "the United States has provided firm commitments to the Government of Japan regarding the safe use of Japanese ports by U.S. nuclear-powered warships, and confirmed that all safety precautions and procedures followed in connection with operations in U.S. ports will be strictly observed in foreign ports. That commitment remains firmly in place."