Japanese naval ships visit Homer

Two Japanese Self Defense Force ships stopped briefly in Homer on their way to a goodwill visit in Anchorage. On Monday morning, Sept. 25, the Japanese Military Self Defense Force vessels Kashima, DD-3508, and Harusame, DD-102, anchored off the Homer Spit. They stayed in Homer until Tuesday evening when they left for Anchorage. Harusame is a training ship and Kashima an escort vessel. The ships left Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan in May and have been visiting ports in the west and east coasts of the United States, Cuba, and Canada as part of training for newly commissioned naval officers. The ships have 600 total crew, including 200 newly commissioned officers.

While in Anchorage, the Japanese sailors will volunteer at the Food Bank of Alaska, visit the Boys and Girls Club in Mountain View and play sports with military personnel at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, said Adam Weinert, senior assistant at the Consular Office of Japan, Anchorage. A medical team also will visit the JBER hospital and a marching band will perform at Central Middle School.

“They’ve got a full schedule,” Weinert said.

Anchorage is the last stop for Kashima and Harusame in the U.S. After leaving Alaska, the ships will stop in Vladivostok, Russia, and South Korea before returning home to Japan.

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