The U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier “Abraham Lincoln” came ashore at Yokosuka Air Base in Kanagawa Prefecture at 10:30 a.m. on May 21.
“At 333 meters in length, it is one of the world’s largest Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. It carries about 80 attack aircraft and is the most powerful in the world. From the standpoint of deterrence, which represents a visible threat, the aircraft carrier is the mainstay of the U.S. military,” said Shigeru Handa, a defense journalist.
This is the second consecutive year that a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier other than the stationed “Ronald Reagan” has called at Yokosuka, following last year’s call, which was the first in 12 years. What is the significance of this port call?
The “Ronald Reagan” left Yokosuka shortly after the carrier’s arrival. By showing this port call, we are appealing to China that the U.S. military is ready to respond immediately. With all eyes on Japan due to the president’s visit, the arrival of another aircraft carrier at Yokosuka would be a showstopper. If the port call is long, the aircraft will be unloaded at the Iwakuni Air Base (Yamaguchi Prefecture), but this time they will remain on board. The plan was to leave the port in a short period of time.
After six days in port, the ship departed from the base on the 26th. The U.S. is wary of China, which has increased its defense spending more than 42-fold in the past 30 years and is expanding its maritime presence. Tensions in Japan’s neighborhood are rising as attention focuses on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
From the June 17, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Kenichi Tajima, Yoichi Yoshinaga