TOKYO/OKINAWA --- The United States naval base in Tokyo was busy, continuing readiness preparations to counter possible military provocations by North Korea despite the ongoing peace momentum on the Korean Peninsula.
This does not mean that the U.S. and Japanese navies were holding a joint exercise by the time this reporter visited the base in Yokosuka, Tokyo on Nov. 26. Even if North Korea has not staged provocations this year, military officials from the U.S. and Japan were still working on the maintenance of their exceptionally large ships.
In the case of a contingency on the peninsula, the Yokosuka base will send its warships to Korea, including the nuclear-powered supercarrier the USS Ronald Reagan and the 19,600-ton USS Blue Ridge from the U.S. 7th Fleet.
Taking advantage of the absence of North Korean provocations, the navies of the U.S. and Japan were busy repairing damaged warships and vessels in use for non-combat purposes, such as networking and transportation.
The Yokosuka base is equipped with the world's most-efficient repair and maintenance facilities for military vessels.
The six enormous dry docks located inside the base were most interesting. When this reporter visited the base, the destroyer USS John S. McCain was also being repaired by skilled Japanese workers.
The vessel was damaged in August last year after colliding with a commercial vessel in the territorial waters of Singapore.
Aerial readiness for Korean Peninsula
Aside from the naval readiness, the 5th Fleet Air Wing in Futenma Marine Corps in Okinawa expressed confidence in its aerial readiness in the case of a contingency on the peninsula.
"The U.S. Marine Corps has enough capability to carry out joint military missions with about 20 countries in the Pacific area and conduct 200 annual drills with them," said a U.S. Marine Corps official on Nov. 30.
In particular, he underlined the strong security alliance between Seoul, Tokyo and Washington, saying that the base is serving as "strong war deterrence" for potential contingency on the peninsula.
The base can deploy combat forces in less than 12 hours in case of emergencies across the globe.
The military official also shared his views on the suspension of major joint military exercises on the peninsula.
"Even if Seoul and Washington suspend or cancel joint military drills due to North Korea's rare gesture for peace, the U.S. forces are maintaining a strong military readiness here in close alliance with Japan," he said.