Reagan replacing Washington in Japan

Story highlights

  • U.S. Navy: The Reagan will replace the Washington at Yokosuka Naval Base
  • The USS Ronald Reagan will leave its current home port in San Diego
  • The USS George Washington will go to Virginia for overhaul and refueling

Ronald Reagan will replace George Washington in Japan -- or specifically the naval namesakes of the 40th and first presidents.

The U.S. Navy announced Tuesday that the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan will be replacing the USS George Washington at Yokosuka Naval Base near Tokyo. When the move takes place -- the specific timelines are yet to be announced -- the Washington will head to Virginia for overhaul and refueling, and the Reagan will leave its current home port in San Diego.

"The security environment in the Indo-Asia-Pacific requires that the U.S. Navy station the most capable ships forward. This posture allows the most rapid response times possible for maritime and joint forces, and brings our most capable ships with the greatest amount of striking power and operational capability to bear in the timeliest manner," the Navy said in a news release announcing the move.

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The Reagan has a history in Japan, having participated in relief efforts after the March 2011 tsunami that damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant. In December 2012, a group of eight sailors from the Reagan sued the Tokyo Electric Power Company, alleging that exposure to radiation that escaped from the plant sickened them.

In 2008, the Washington became the first American nuclear-powered carrier to be based in Japan when it replaced the USS Kitty Hawk. The Reagan is also nuclear-powered.

On board a supercarrier

George Washington in U.S.-Japan naval exercises