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Nuclear warships in Japan touch a nerve

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obviously it is believed that the safety aboard these ships is as poor as at Japanese nuclear power stations....

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Well, if they don't want US carriers in Japan they can just build their own. They're costly though, and might upset the neigbours though!!

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This Japanese "sensitivity" to anything Nuclear would be more acceptable if in fact Japan didn't have so many nuclear powerplants in operation and their safety record was pristine, which it obviously isn't. The safety of the USN's nuclear powered fleet is impecable in comparison, even with the minor, and yes it is minor, USS Houston incident. Japan wants the US to defend it from the other nuclear powers, China and Russia. So they need to accept the package.

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Japan wants the US to defend it from the other nuclear powers,

I think I would disagree with that. The government might want that, but that doesn't seem to be the view that most people hold. Most folks I've talked to seem to see the US defense more as making them a target, rather than a kind of protection. I think their view is unrealistic, but I think this is the view of the majority. Others can chime in here if you have heard differently.

Of course there is a sensitivity to radiation-related devices, and the seemingly poor state of nuclear plants in Japan is something people try to not think about. The Tokaimura accident was a near disaster.

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So if this is a disaster waiting to happen, then the nuclear plants in Japan are a disaster that is happening.

Before any of these non-nuke people throw stones, they need to look in their own backyard and assess their own safety first.

Ciao

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Goto thinks that a nuclear powered warship is a disaster waiting to happen is based on what facts? How many disasters have there been with US nuclear powered warships in the past? Answer: 0 : then on what does he base his statements? It sounds like he is making a statement based on an emotional appeal to the public than on facts or reason. It is this lack of logic that gives Japan a "black eye" when it comes to foreign relations.

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if it weren`t for the accidents and cover-ups here on japanese soil by the japanese i could understand. but geewhiz. i guess when it comes down to it they would rather have a japanese homegrown nuclear disaster. i would put my money on the US carriers before any of the plants on the ground here.

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Yes, Sicilian, especially those Nuclear power plants build right on top of major geological faults! Disaster waiting to happen.

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I think Japan is correct in not wanting nuclear warships in its waters. That's why they didn't help Pakistan with their nuclear program. Or put nuclear power plants on top of fault lines In Their Own Country.

I think most people think a nuclear warship is a disaster waiting to happen based on facts: 1. Russian nuclear submarines have had a few problems and 2. Japanese nuclear power plants have had a few problems. That these have almost nothing to do with US nuclear warships is beside the point - for most people.

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"Japan wants the US to defend it from the other nuclear powers, I think I would disagree with that. The government might want that, but >that doesn't seem to be the view that most people hold.

When i said "Japan" I was refering to the Government of Japan.

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“If there was a problem, it would affect not just our city, but Tokyo and the heart of Japan.” - And this is completely unlike the Japanese nuclear power plants how?

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Yeah Really! I have to agree that this sounds like the pot calling the kettle dirty. There have been a whole lot more accidents and disasters at Japanese Nuclear Power stations than on U.S. Navy vessels.

Does anyone remember the Niigata power plant fire after the earthquake? It wasn't until much later that the plant admitted that during the quake hundreds of gallons of radioactive water was spilled from their containment facility during the quake. I mean, what kind of concern do you have for your fellow man if you build a nuclear reactor on a fault line?

Does anyone remember the two techs dumping fissionable material in steel buckets only to have them starting a nuclear reaction, giving off lots of killer radiation? Guess this Goto guy doesn't remember that incident.

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I agree that this hysteria over a nuclear-powered vessel is unwarranted, but the claims of a double-standard here are misplaced. There is only a double-standard if the ones complaining about the Washington are saying that domestic nuclear power is safe. I see nothing to support that - it may be true, but based on the info presented here, it's supposition and yet another example of the tendency to collectively blames "Japan" on JT.

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Bottom line, the location is bad. The carrier should have the same designation as nuclear power plants - away from heavily populated areas. The Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1996 showed that that carrier could see damage and repair facilities should not be anywhere near a populated area. Yokota Air Force Base is adequate for most contingencies. Moving US Bases away from heavily populated areas should be considered. SDF could use a conventional carrier, and should be allowed to carry out it's main mission - to protect Japan.

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the subject is nuclear warships, not nuclear power plants. please stay on target, jedi knights

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Bottom line, the location is bad. The carrier should have the same designation as nuclear power plants

Agreed. This issue was discussed last September and it's really tiring how these red, white, and blue flag waving patriots here completely miss the mark.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/hundreds-protest-us-carrier-arrival

Goto isn't arguing that Japan's nuclear power plant is safer than USS Washington. In fact, he'll argue that neither of them are safe and should be miles and miles away from densely populated area. (As Japan's nuclear power plants are).

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bobcatfish (and UnagiDon)

the subject is nuclear warships, not nuclear power plants. please stay on target, jedi knights

Really, it is about nuclear reactors, so most people are on target. Goto isn't worried about nuclear warships for any other reason than they have nuclear reactors in them.

So the charge of hypocrisy is valid, I would say. And in any case Japan is unable to stop US nuclear ships coming to Japan. New Zealand did and the US threw them out of the ANZUS alliance. NZ had a 'moral' leg to stand on however: they have also rejected nuclear power plants.

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USS George Wsshington shows an American Power to other countires to maintain freedom and democracy in Pacific. The US maybe defends Japan from invasion/nuclear attack in the future, but I doubt it and majority of people doubt it.

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How can he not be worried about the nuclear power plants in Japan?

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This is just NIMBY (not in my backyard) on a wider scale. Japan enjoys the peace and protection and security afforded by the united states, but please put that ugly dangerous thing outside of safety japan so we can go back to sticking our heads in the sand and pretending we are a precious kawaii society who would never think of anything war like.

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bamboohat... spot on. And the Admiral is right.

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I think that majority of Japanese think they (can't refuse)need nuclear power plants to produce electricity although these plants have some problems sometimes but can be controllable (even if 7.0M earthquakes happen)under safety except done by ignorant employees at Tokaimura years ago. However people worry very much about nulcear war ship because it can be a good target for enemy. They worry if it was destroyed by enemy. To me I think Japan needs the nuclear war ship as deterrent power to prevent attack/war.

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Funny, back when Indonesia had that tsunami hit their coast the US sent in an aircraft carrier. Some French "diplomat" said, "How typical of the Americans to send a warship." The American told him, "We'll fly off the war planes and fly in helicopter for search and rescue work, The power plants will supply electrical power to the dock area, the distillation plants on board will supply clean water, the communication suite can talk pretty much to anyone in the world, and there is enough room and personel for makeshift hospitals. What do the French have available? I'm writing my Congressman to make sure that the next time a big quake hits Tokyo to keep any of our nuclear ships away from relief work. They might explode and make the situation worse after all. Sarcasm off!

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Just another smoke screen to steer away from the real problems

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Funny... as far as I know Japan is a democratically elected government...if the "people" don't want the US military here then it would go to reason that they would put a government in power that would end this so called hugely unpopular US-Japan alliance. How all "these citizens" who are supposedly against the US presence fail to do just that is even funnier. In fact, a year ago, in Iwakuni, a city only 45km SW of Hiroshima, the citizens booted out the mayor who took an anti-military stance for his city and stood up to the National Government requiring them to enlarge the small base there for the re alignment of US forces in Japan. Maybe they're not happy but damn… they much prefer the money coming from the central government than to actually attempt to do something about the US presence there. They saw beyond all the hyperbole of an increased US military presence causing a crime spree in their city and decided that being ¥100 billion in debt with all future central governnment realignment subsidies blocked and really no hope of creating alternative revenue was actually the real issue and much more pressing than proving to Japan that they don't need the US military. I'm sure there are plenty citizens here who prefer to have the US out but as for the alternative... as the saying goes they rather deal with the devil they know....

So I find the comments posted by idealist Japan apologists who tend to forget world history prior to 1945(Japanese are extremely militaristic ...60+ years of renouncing war doesn't make them into purveyors of peace, just look at their school system)and can't see the forest for the trees extremely naïve... (i.e. Japan can't have a military that would serve as deterrent, much less build its own carrier, article 9 makes that crystal clear; so far no one in Japan is willing to risk amending that...Its also the last thing its friendly and unfriendly neighbors would want. Even crazy North Korea would rather deal with the US's "unsafe warships" than risk a Japanese build up [think otherwise then you aren't paying attention or reading the papers],...and the plain and simple fact: it is still a dog eat dog world; especially in Asia, thinking Japan can maintain its economic influence and be a guiding light of peaceful coexistence without a military deterrent is utterly ridiculous)

The simple point is the US has no conventional carriers left to protect this region...protecting Japan and its common interests and the US forces here requires an aircraft carrier. Japan is in no position to dictate how the US maintains is part of the protective arrangement...it can, however suggest and encourage actions...and in most cases the US will accommodate, as they have until the USS Kitty Hawk was decommisioned, as the US needs Japan as much as Japan needs the US but... alas the US has NO more conventional carriers...they are too costly to maintain and much more prone to "disasters." ...End of argument unless someone can post a “realistic” alternative.

As for a potential target...good luck!...they are most defended property in the history of warfare...any enemy of Japan or the US for that matter would have better chance of killing the Emperor than hitting the USS George Washington with a strike that would actually cause a radiation leak affecting Tokyo...please be realistic!

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Good post threedogs!

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It's about time the USA decommissioned it's aging fleet of nuclear powered ships and designed more environmentally friendly powered carriers/ships using Green energy like bio-fuels, or a fuel that does not pose a danger to cities within it's proximity.

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Martee

Bio-fuels aren't 'green'. In fact they are a pretty bad idea altogether when you think of feeding the world. Nuclear powered ships are both safe and green.

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It's about time the USA decommissioned it's aging fleet of nuclear powered ships and designed more environmentally friendly powered carriers/ships using Green energy like bio-fuels, or a fuel that does not pose a danger to cities within it's proximity.

This has to be one of the dumbest, most idiotic posts I've ever read here on JT. No really. Nuclear power as the previous poster said, is both safe and green. Everything is self contained. Everything is monitored. Those so-called leaks in Japan were so tiny and insignificant that it didn't even need to be reported. Seriously, stupid idea.

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Nuclear power - safe and green. Then the leftovers glow in the dark forever.

America cannot remove its presence from Japan so quickly, right at once. If they did, Japan's second language would be Chinese in 10 years. (It may be already.) Forget about learning English.

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Japan's opposition to the ship's presence should come as no surprise when one considers the amount of collisions between military and commercial ships in the harbors around Japan.

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Japan's opposition to the ship's presence should come as no surprise when one considers the amount of collisions between military and commercial ships in the harbors around Japan.

Huge Metal ship, guarded by countless other smaller ships. You would have to ram it with a supertanker to do any kind of damage to it. And the tanker would be blown up long before it got close.

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I won't be so harsh as Molenir, but obviously Martee's strong suit is not a grasp of physics or science for that matter...biofuels may be effective at powering small vehicles or even public buses but to power a 100,000 ton displaced weight ship carrying 85 aircraft and 5,700 personnel among numerous types of equipment at 30 knots is just not feasible... as nuclear powered they don't have to refuel for 20+ years, do you know how many Iowa farms(now that the US is forced to buy American, sorry Brazil) that would take to fuel it for just one cruise.

As for nigelboy and all those other posters that lump anyone who supports a very valid and good point that isn't anti-American as "tiring ...red, white, and blue flag waving patriots [whom]completely miss the mark" obviously like I previously stated are too idealistic to note the absurdity of their logic...Yes in a perfect world nuclear power would be isolated from large population centers...heck we wouldn't even need it, much less the need for militaries.

Goto's issue is with nuclear power in general, but finds it easier to get press attention and stir up sympathy if he focuses on the US carrier than the attrocious nuclear safety record here in Japan, as I stated before the Japanese are more concerned with the bottom line than enviromental concerns (just look at how they have concreted over nature). Moving US bases is a very expensive endeavor and takes time (they just negotiated this issue back in 2006 with regard to Okinawa and Astsugi: it won't be complete until 2014) worse Japan gets stuck with a large portion of the bill part of the security arrangement whereas if they leave the US where they are the US picks up most of the bill...ergo the heart of the debate of whether the US should be here at all.

As to the idea to move the power plants away from the areas where they are supposedly supplying the power, while logistically more feasible and should be considered in any future projects is still ignoring the facts...the plants are already there; as are the support bases for the carrier...Japan has limited funds with what it can re build and do over,...duh?...for people who like to ridicule the IQ level of others who don't share your political agenda you sure seem void of any ability to actually think out a problem to result.

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3dogs, well said.

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Nuclear powered ships are both safe and green.

That's just the glow, 2020.

http://www.lutins.org/nukes.html#subs

http://spb.org.ru/bellona/ehome/russia/nfl/nfl8.htm

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Nuclear military safety...did you hear the one about the french and britsh nuclear subs / nuclear deterrents crashing into each other recently in the Atlantic. whoops could have been a rather large bang.

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You have a better chance of getting hit by a train. And, contrary to 888's musings, a power reactor can not go critical and cause a nuclear explosion. I am always amused by people banging on about things they don't understand and so are therefore afraid of. Until it interferes with my life. Why don't you guys go back to monsters under the bed and leave the rest of us alone?

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"Contrary to 888's musings, a power reactor can not go critical and cause a nuclear explosion." .. I didn't suggest or write that.

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Well, let's see...

If Japan had to go to war tomorrow, it would undoubtably the most ready country in the world. You take a look at its neo-impeiralist school system and wonder how the country got around amending article 9 of its constitution, oh yeah this was it. They won't have a military, just a military-like school system based on absolute obedience.

If Japan would have discovered the nuclear bomb first,had the delivery capability, it would have nuked San Francisco and LA, maybe Seattle too. It is a fact.

Nuclear powered Aircraft Carriers are here to stay. Deal with it.

Just because Japan is hush hush about its military buildup and calls it Self Defense Force doesn't make their bullets any less lethal. Rather than through force, Japan has been conquering the globe one investment at a time.

Let's be realistic.

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Nessie

That's just the glow, 2020.

Nuclear subs, I agree are a different matter. Not as safe as nuclear powered ships. However, they are all green compared to alternative energy sources.

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Three dogs,

I'm sorry to say that I was never a person to buy into the assertion that aircraft carriers here in Japan in general, are "left to protect this region...protecting Japan". especially in light of the fact most all of the missions involving aircraft carriers are mostly done in the Meditteranean, Persian Gulf (Operation Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Operation That Had Nothing To Do With East Asia (OTHNTDWEA) And this of course is expected since aircraft carriers as a rule are used to support air power at "great distances" something which isn't applicable to Japan's so called enemies (i.e. NK, China) who they themselves don't own one. One could further argue that since Yokosuka/Japan is the only foreign home port for Nimitz class, they've become much more of a target to these terrorists.

So, your " U.S. carrier is needed" is exactly the "red, white and blue flag waving patriot" argument I addressed before.

U.S. WANTS Nimitz class carrier based in Yokosuka because of it's the most cost effective from the standpoint of fixtures (Japan's high % of support in terms of costs), logistics,(Yokosuka closer to Persian gulf than any other U.S. ports) and very little political hurdle(thanks to Govt. of Japan) so that they can carry out their adventures which has virtually nothing to do with Japan.

Sorry threedogs but I don't think Goto and his people are arguing whether U.S. military should be in Yokosuka or any part of Japan or not. What's concerning Goto and the people he represents (some concerned citizens of Yokosuka) is the safety concerns of having a nuculear reactor in such proximity to a densly populated area. For this, the U.S. officials (the one who was educated in diplomacy) at least addressed that issue along with song and dance routine (manga/town meeting/tours etc.)

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Who care just get that out of here! Its Japan no the U.S I think its about time the US shows Japan some respect and remove there entire military at asap!

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The US government wants to post Air Bases and Naval ports all over in Japan because Japan support billions of money to the US. Japan is also convenient place for strategical missions to watch NKorea, China, South Asia, Russia, Persian Gulf, etc. If the US post all Air Bases and Naval ports in Guam instead of in Japan, She does not support more than the US expects.

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The U.S. Navy has accumulated over 5,400 "reactor years" of accident-free experience, and operates more than 80 nuclear-powered ships..

Source Wikipedia

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earthcreature...are you serious?... the US military is here by invitation of the government of Japan whom reserve the right to kick them out at anytime by virtue of the bilateral agreement signed in 2006...half of the US military here couldn't be more pleased with that choice ...but most of the posters here actually live in reality… so why don't you let us adults continue our discussion without these ludicrous posts

Nigel boy...I didn't realize you were such a Pentagon strategist...while I agree that you may be fairly close on your general assumptions: a large part of the US's military's motivation in stationing in Yokosuka is financially motivated... and most all "Operations" that actually get press are (OTHNTDWEA) as you coined. However you make a serious logical fallacy... cum hoc ergo propter hoc To conclude that placing a carrier group in Japan (densely populated area as let’s face it there are no ports in rural areas equipped to handle a ship the size of carrier) is nothing more than war mongering move to save money then by your logic a football coach could conclude that because all the goals were scored by the right forward in a football match that that the left forward is or will not be needed or for that matter the left midfielder even (for the sake analogy) since they only touched the ball a couple of times. An aircraft is naval battle group which most all modern navies are organized around...from submarines to destroyers. The placement in Japan is essentially because unlike the US Atlantic allies which have their own carriers and corresponding battle groups and facilities to accommodate US carriers (FYI more Atlantic based carriers support the US exploits in the Middle East than the sole carrier here in Japan) for port calls and minor repairs with capable militaries that Japan by law does and can not have....(one could argue does have it… save the carrier…and in that case they may be right… but by virtue of appearances Japan can not have any deterrent/offensive form of military) So if the US is in a bi-lateral defense agreement then it seems that the US has to supply the bulk of the hardware…since Japan can’t, whether that be the actual reality or not. And you may wish to double check you stats on whether China who do[es]n't own one"...oh they own one, bought Varyag from the Ukraine though it is debated in intelligence circles as to whether this is to used as model to build more or is to actually to be outfitted is a matter of debate... http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/china/cv-phase-2.htm

but let's say for the sake of argument they don't and have no attention to own one...their there are several other reasons the Japanese feel the need to hire the US mercenaries China’s defense spending has increase 17% and that is what they admit… http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSPEK307417

any Sinologist will tell you that figure is 1/3 of their actual spending…so depending on how you rate militaries (is the EU a nation) they are #2 or #3 I would beg to offer that the reason the carriers have never been used in any conflict with regard to Japan’s defense is because of the simple fact that they are here…but I too would be making the same logically fallacy of cum hoc ergo propter hoc. But seeing how the government of Japan hasn’t seemed to ask the US Government to leave and the citizens haven’t installed a government that will… I would wager a bet that the reality of the situation, while yours is definitely has merit, based more on mine than yours

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threedogs.

You didn't touch on the issue this isn't about foreign nuclear aircraft carrier making brief port calls to another state.(even this is met with opposition ie India). What we're talking about here is the issue of said aircraft making Yokosuka their "HOME BASE", hence the concerns among her nearby citizens.

And you may wish to double check you stats on whether China who do[es]n't own one"...oh they own one, bought Varyag from the Ukraine though it is debated in intelligence circles as to whether this is to used as model to build more or is to actually to be outfitted is a matter of debate... http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/china/cv-phase-2.htm

Oh that piece of garbage?

Like I said, aircraft carriers aircraft carriers as a rule are used to support air power at "great distances". If China was to build one, their purpose is support air power most likely at South China Sea where they have vested interested in oil/gas fields all across that area, (even fought with Vietnam resulting in casualties) not to mention the fact that it touches South of Taiwan. But what were're talking about is "potential" neighbor enemies of Japan (NK and China). If we were to cite an example from Japan in prior conflicts, the major naval battle utilizing aircraft carriers were all done against non-China nations (Battle of the Coral Sea, Midway, Battle of East Solomons, Battle of Phillipine Sea,Battle of Leyte Gulf) reaffirming the fact that aircraft carriers as a rule are used to support air power at "great distances". And in case of China, the same rule applies. (Great distances=South China Sea)

but let's say for the sake of argument they don't and have no attention to own one...their there are several other reasons the Japanese feel the need to hire the US mercenaries China’s defense spending has increase 17% and that is what they admit… http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSPEK307417

No. They are "reasons" that Japan should commit more on its own military which has been stagnant at less than 1% of GNP/year.

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Look, all I know is that I mentioned this article at my drum circle and my girlfriend had to put down her macrame and clear the dreads out of the way to wipe tears from her eyes. GET THAT EARTH HATING MONSTROSITY OUT OF THIS PEACE LOVING COUNTRY.

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Nigel Boy: You get no argument from me on that point...but again you still haven't ever addressed the issue of how Japan can nor how that would work for cooperative relations with South Korea, NK and China...last time Koizumi then later Abe tried to skirt Article 9 the country went into a conniption fit...needless to say Fukuda and Aso haven't bothered

My whole point is the USS George Washington's home port is Japan because the Japanese want air superiority in this region...as an island nation it is prudent and inline with the US's general military strategy this be achieved by naval air power. Yes there is Air Force in Yokata, Kadena and Misawa but the overall superiority Japan has is based on Naval and Marine Forces here.

Re-read my posts I did touch on it, Japan is a democratic government...the US is here by obligation, if the citizens of Yokohama doesn't want them there then they know how to get rid of it take it up with the central government...or better yet put someone office that agrees with their view...alas it appears their viewpoint is a minority so far... You are so high on your horse to be bothered to address you own fallacies of logic (just because they have been used in other operations does not negate their primary operation is a deterent)...second your understanding of carrier strategy rules is...20th century, actually read something about carriers before you start spouting off "rules". Of course if China was to build one it would be deployed to the South China Sea, or to protect their oil interest in the Middle East because the 1300 short range fighters and 600 bombers can easily make the trip across the Sea of Japan, if the US is going to assist in the defense of Japan it makes more sense to do it with a carrier group that is flexible and a difficult target rather than a fixed base such as Misawa. Bottom line is China by sheer numbers is the dominant air power in Asia. http://www.sinodefence.com/airforce/default.asp

A whole another can of worms which you did mention was Taiwan which if you weren't aware Japan has signed a mutual defense agreement of Taiwan from the mainland on Oct 29, 2005 (argued in both Koreas and China as a back door rearmament of Japan)...so the point of Chinese forces being directed to Taiwan is moot anyway since an attack by the PRC on Taiwan would be the equivalent of attacking Japan under current defense agreements between the US, Japan and Taiwan.

Fine don't trust an unclassified source but fairly accurate...that's your perogative...but arguing from theories pulled from your oh so infallible logic shows your ignorance to the issue of military power in this region. Do you actually know how many members their are in the SDF with out googling it (which by the way is inaccurate I checked)...yeah I didn't so. Stop theorizing and actually study the issue...but then again that would require you to see the ugly reality of Japan.

Kijimuna: awesome post! My SDF girlfriend wanted to billy club her senseless

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