13,000 Japanese Protest US Carrier

TOKYO (AP) — Thousands of Japanese protesters have been demonstrating against a plan to keep a nuclear-powered U.S. warship permanently based near Tokyo.

Opposition to the plan grew after a recent fire onboard the USS George Washington. The blaze added to concerns many Japanese have about nuclear power.

Organizers and media reports say about 13,000 people gathered at a park near the port of Yokosuka, just south of the capital. That’s where the aircraft carrier will be based.

The George Washington has been tapped to relieve the soon-to-be decommissioned USS Kitty Hawk. It would become the first U.S. Navy nuclear-powered vessel stationed permanently in Japan.

Some 250 residents have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the aircraft carrier from basing there. People in Japan, the only country to suffer from atomic bombings, tend to be sensitive about military use of nuclear technology.

The ship’s arrival was originally set for August under a Japan-U.S. security deal, but was delayed because after the fire aboard the vessel in May.