Japanese navy ports in Anchorage for “good-will” visit

Japanese naval destroyer anchored in Kachemak Bay near Homer. (Aaron Bolton, KBBI)

Two Japanese naval destroyers are in Anchorage for a “good-will” port call.

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The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force has been traveling the world since May, making port calls in South America, Canada, along the East Coast and even Pearl Harbor. About 500 sailors are on board both ships, but the six-month tour is primarily part of an effort to train 200 new cadets.

The ships were docked in Homer earlier in the week before heading toward Anchorage. Sailors toured the VA hospital and observed military exercises at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The new cadets also plan to volunteer at a local food bank and members of the naval band will perform a short concert at the Anchorage School District’s Japanese immersion program on Thursday.

Such visits from the Japanese Navy are not new, they happen every four to five years. The ships will be docked at the Port of Anchorage for three days.