Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

USS Providence Visit Touches Off Diplomatic Row

Japan is protesting an "unannounced" visit of USS Providence (SSN 719) to the White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa today:
A statement from the Japanese Foreign Ministry says Tokyo reminded the United States that it must give Japan at least 24 hours notice before submarines arrive at its ports.
Japan has asked U.S. officials to explain why the USS Providence arrived on the southern island of Okinawa today without prior notice. The U.S. embassy in Japan said the incident was due to what it called "miscommunication" in the U.S. Navy.
Of course the State Department spokesman will blame the Navy. I'm more inclined to believe that some staffer in the U.S. embassy would fail to pass on the information from SubGru SEVEN than I would believe that the submarine staff messed up. Of course, the civilians get the last say.
This appears to be only the 2nd screw-up we've had with Japan since we signed the 1964 agreement covering warship visits. The first was in April 2001, when USS Chicago (SSN 721) pulled into Sasebo for a touch-and-go at the pier when the Japanese had only been informed that the boat was only going to do a PERSTRANS or something out in the bay.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a hunch Japan Government is a lot more sensitive to nuclear powered ship visits since arrival of USS George Washington. I think current government is not the same one that negotiated the GW home port deal couple of years ago. Current government may be inclined to lean heavily on USN compliance with treaty obligations as the press announcement describes. I personally think the entire forward deployment in Japan thing needs to be reviewed by DoD. There are fewer and fewer Japanese that remember the reason we are there is fallout from the occupation coupled with the cold war confrontation with the Soviets. I think many Japanese today see those reasons as irrelevant and are quite ready for us to leave. I know the Flag directed "intrusive leadership model" is C7F effort to keep sailor behavior below the radar so as to not stir up the Japanese and start a push for us to leave.

Japan is more than capable of defending herself as is South Korea. After 63 years, perhaps it's time for the troops to return home.

My two cents......

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET

11/10/2008 4:20 PM

 
Anonymous Former SSN Nav said...

My use-ta-boat also had a "misunderstanding" with the Japanese in Sasebo, sometime after the Chicago incident you mentioned. It was my first Westpac and I was the Nav. We were doing a perstrans and were supposed to be at the rendezvous point inside Sasebo harbor at a designated time like 0800. The Fleet Guide said the speed limit inside the harbor was something low like 6 knots. So we laid out the track to get us to the rendezvous time at the designated spot at the designated time at 6 knots. The rendezvous point was like 6NM inside the harbor, so the PIM track had us passing the traffic control tower at the entrance to the harbor about an hour before the rendezvous time.

Makes sense, right?

We requested and were granted permission from the traffic tower to enter the harbor. The pilot came on board and told us to go 10 knots. We did what the pilot said and went 10 knots then loitered at the location for the perstrans.

Next thing we knew, we had all sorts of pain and agony and gnashing of teeth in radio. CTF-74 was on the phone demanding to know why we entered Sasebo early for our BSP.

CTF-74: "(Boat) this is CTF-74, report the reason you entered Sasebo harbor early for your BSP, over."

Us: "CTF-74 this is (boat). Uhhh... we weren't early. We were exactly on time entering the harbor for the posted speed limit and the designated BSP time, over."

CTF-74: "(Boat) this is CTF-74, I say again, report the reason you entered Sasebo harbor early for your BSP, over."

Us: "CTF-74 this is (boat), I say again, WE WEREN'T EARLY, we were ON TIME over."

CTF-74: "(Boat) this is CTF-74, report the reason you entered Sasebo harbor early for your BSP, over."

Just shoot me.

If they didn't want us to enter the harbor until time X, then they should say so in the ops directive telling you to do the BSP. If the Japanese were going to have a cow about us being there early so their radiation monitoring boats could be in place, then the traffic control tower should have said, "Permission to enter harbor denied, please wait one hour." But no, it was all the boat's fault.

11/10/2008 5:25 PM

 
Blogger DoYou said...

Navy needs to do the same thing they did in the Phillipines when they left!
Say were leavign and take EVERYTHING! Let the area suffer because of the economics involved. Maybe a little appreciation from the Japanese. For past and future ventures. Make them give a little thanks we didn't annihilate them in 1945 and for supporting their economy for the past 60+ years!
They would be a third world country with out the U.S.

STSCS(SS/SW) USN Ret

11/10/2008 8:23 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This appears to be only the 2nd screw-up we've had with Japan since we signed the 1964 agreement covering warship visits.

I'd estimate a bureaucratic snafu like this happens about every year or every other year. (which, considering there are dozens of visits every year, some of them short notice, make sense) Sometimes it's 74's fault, sometimes the usdao's fault.

I'd guess the only reason this rose high in the google news feed was the recent russian accident which makes everyone more sensitive to sub stories in general, and the houston disclosure of a few months ago makes this a much bigger row.

11/10/2008 9:53 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, I'd bet a carbonated beverage that the cause of this lies somewhere in the fact that new day zulu is mid morning in Japan, but the previous day's evening in EST, and midafternoon in Hawaii. So when one says the boat will pull in on Monday, it better be clear who's Monday.

Also, the holiday probably didn't help

11/10/2008 10:39 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quote: "Maybe a little appreciation from the Japanese. For past and future ventures. Make them give a little thanks we didn't annihilate them in 1945 and for supporting their economy for the past 60+ years!
They would be a third world country with out the U.S."

What a great & solid point, STSCS(SS/SW).



One of my grandfathers received a pair of purple hearts and one NavCom while fighting the Japanese in 1944-1945. He still won't discuss it very much, but he's always felt that Japan owes us quite alot for rebuilding their country and economy after the war.

Good one.

Thanks, J.

11/10/2008 11:42 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>"They would be a third world country with out the U.S."

Contrary to popular belief, Japan IS a Third World Country with a very thin First World Veneer!
Retired ST living in Yoko!

11/11/2008 3:24 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived on Okinawa from 93 to 95. The people are great and the diving was excellent. The Okinawa government is working very hard to get the US off the island.

In some cases we only have ourselves to blame. Drugs, sex crimes, crap falling out of helicopters, etc. all seem to piss off the natives. In general we shop, live and eat on base. We do pump money into the economy and I suspect many Okinawans would be happy to see us go.

The national government is more than happy to let us stay, on Okinawa. Okinawa is treated about the same as the way people in New York treat Alabama or Mississippi. Backwards hicks who talk funny, inter-marry and have low IQ's.

11/11/2008 6:31 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Message traffic goes to all US players involved including USDAO and C7F. Like someone said, this happens almost yearly and is a relatively small percentage considering all the submarine port visits conducted in the 7th/5th Fleet AOR's.

When I was the CSG-7 Ops Chief, there were a rash of Singapore port visit SNAFU's...mostly politics playing the biggest part.


And for

"Navy needs to do the same thing they did in the Phillipines when they left! Say were leavign and take EVERYTHING! Let the area suffer because of the economics involved."

First of all we didn't say we were leaving, we were voted out. Second, it's been a year since I have been there to visit family, but the former Naval/Air base isn't doing too bad. The economy is doing well and ships still visit...although most of the "good" stuff no longer happens.

Jim C.

11/11/2008 10:04 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in Subic on MSC T-AE August 2007. Inport at same time was a T-AOE. MSC ships routinely stop in Subic. CivMars have regular liberty in Subic. MilDet Navy personnel enjoy C7F "intrusive leadership" including cinderella liberty, the buddy plan, and restriction to former base when off ship. "Viking" liberty still exits in Barrio Baretto, Baloy Beach, and Subic City. Navy retiree's are still visible in a number of Barrio Baretto watering holes including a retired USS Grayback LPSS-574 ETC(SS)with whom I spent an enjoyable afternoon reminiscing about smoke boat shipmates. Old timers would not recognize Olongopo today. Paved streets, sidewalks, and three and four story business buildings on Magsaysay Blvd. No bars!!

Keep a zero bubble......

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET

11/11/2008 11:31 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

forgot to mention, the former Subic SRF reopened last year as a civilian yard. The have a floating drydock. One of the filipino yard workers who was onboard working a repair job in the engine room was an apprentice in the SRF and worked on the Grayback during one of her overhauls in Subic in the late 70's. Cubi Point Airport has a steady stream of airfreight arrivals and departures from sundown to sunrise.

Agree with Jim C. locals seem to be doing OK at Subic.

Keep a zero bubble......

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET

11/11/2008 11:42 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm more inclined to believe that some staffer in the U.S. embassy would fail to pass on the information from SubGru SEVEN than I would believe that the submarine staff messed up. Of course, the civilians get the last say."

CNFJ and USFJ actually conducts a many of the policy roles that diplomats do in other countries. The US Embassy does not have a role in notifying the GOJ of submarine visits to Japanese ports. CSG7 notifies CNFJ of port visits, who then, at the agreed upon time in advance of the visit, notifies the GOJ. The Embassy only gets involved when there's an issue.

11/12/2008 3:42 AM

 
Blogger submandave said...

"Maybe a little appreciation from the Japanese. For past and future ventures. Make them give a little thanks we didn't annihilate them in 1945 and for supporting their economy for the past 60+ years!"

I admit my bias (I dearly love Japan and several individual Japanese people), but I'll give you two specific events that happened while stationed in Japan in the early '90s:

At a social occasion I had an older Japanese man, rather highly placed, tell me that he and many of his friends greatly appreciated what America had done for his country. He specifically mentioned that our strong presence in the Western Pacific had protected Japan from possible Soviet aggression and allowed them to grow a peaceful economy rather than spending on a large military. He knew that a heavily armed Japan would be viewed with distrust by her neighbors and expressed amazement that we (the US) would spend so much of our capital to help protect them, a former enemy.

The second event happened in a bar in Yokosuka on Hiroshima Day (anniversary of the bombing). Me and a friend were drinking when a middle-aged Japanese man drunkenly came up and stood by our table. given the particular day we were a bit apprehensive until the man slammed down two bottles of beer, told us "U.S. Navy number one, Japanese Navy dame (bad). Pearl Harbod no good. Gomennasai (I'm sorry)."

Like it always is, as we get further and further from the events that have made our world what it is and those events pass further and further from living memory there are those who will forget their importance. But I know that many Japanese people understand and appreciate the gift America gave their country after WWII and the sacrifices we, as a country, made.

11/12/2008 1:56 PM

 
Blogger Dave said...

Ha! I was on the Windy City when our incident happened, days and days in the penalty box..ugh! I think our Perstrans was the commodore..no fun for that one. Our reception when we returned to drop him off was WILD! You would think we were invading, the JDF was there do protect us, and we couldnt hear anything on the bridge headsets due to all the news helos flying over...Manuevering, Bridge..say again...again?

11/19/2008 9:37 AM

 

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