U.S. Navy Destroyer to Dock at Ishigaki Island

The United States Navy made plans for the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer U.S.S. Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) to depart at 9 a.m. local time on March 11th and depart at 9 a.m. on March 14th, marking the first-ever visit by an American destroyer.

Ishigaki Island is located in the southwest Nansei/Ryukyu Island Chain, which includes approximately 100 islands across a length of approximately 746 miles (1,200 km) from southern Kagoshima to the vicinity of Taiwan.

Japan deployed more troops to the island chain starting in 2023 after increased Chinese activity in the surrounding waters. Nearby are the Senkaku Islands, also referred to as the Diaoyu Islands by China, which both countries claim.

City and harbor officials are still considering how to handle the planned visit by the Rafael Peralta.

Last year, an Avenger-class mine countermeasures vessel, the U.S.S. Pioneer (MCM 9), visited from September 7th to 8th for routine training. The U.S.S. Guardian (MCM 5) and U.S.S. Patriot (MCM 7) also made a port call to the island in 2009. The labor union representing the harbor workers and several pacifist groups protested the visits due to the deep pacifist sentiment that still exists on the island due to World War II.