INTRODUCTION: The United States aircraft carrier Midway had to thread its way through a blockade of small boats on Friday (5 June) to dock in Yokosuka, her home port in Japan.
AERIAL V Carrier Midway at sea (2 shots)
GV Protesters in dinghy pass larger protest boats
AERIAL V Flotilla of protesters' boats PULL BACK TO carrier
SV PAN U.S. band welcomes crew ashore
GV & SCU Crew disembark greeted by relatives (4 shots)
GV Crowd going on board
GV & CUs Police struggling with demonstrators (4 shots)
SVs Uniformed personnel leaving carrier (2 shots)
SV Demonstrators fighting with riot police
CU Injured demonstrator
GV Demonstrators marching with police escort
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The United States aircraft carrier Midway had to thread its way through a blockade of small boats on Friday (5 June) to dock in Yokosuka, her home port in Japan. Japanese coastguard vessels escorted the Midway past the blockading boats, which were manned by anti-nuclear protesters.
SYNOPSIS: The carrier was returning from three -- and-a-half months of patrol in the Indian Ocean. On board, it had a complement of 75 assorted fighter-bombers, which were all capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
The protesters afloat, as well as several hundred on shore, claimed the Midway carries nuclear weapons in defiance of Japanese regulations. Washington has declined to comment on the allegations, which were originally made by former senior officials in the United States government. For its part, the Japanese government denies any knowledge of nuclear weapons being on board U.S. ships, or in Japanese ports or territorial waters.
The carrier was welcomed back in traditional style, with wives and families of crewmen on the quayside.
In the background to the embraces were an estimated 7,000 demonstrators, who shouted anti-American slogans and waved peace banners. Some 3,000 Japanese anti-riot police were on duty protecting the U.S. base.
There were clashes, but police reported no serious incidents. Midway has used Yokosuka as her base for eight years, but local officials made last-minute efforts before she arrived to have the 64,000-ton ship dock at another port.
Reuters new agency reported that the governor of the prefecture where Yokosuka is situated, Mr. Kazuji Nagasu, has sent telegrams to the Japanese and United States governments asking for the Midway to go elsewhere. The agency also said the right-wing extremists had poured into Yokosuka on Friday (5 June) to express their support for the carrier's presence. Protests were expected to continue.