BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Some of Japan’s latest Navy recruits are in the middle of an overseas training cruise around the world. It includes a stop in Baltimore, WJZ’s Amy Yensi reports.
Thirteen countries, 750 sailors, three impressive warships. Japan’s Naval squadron is on a training mission, visiting ports worldwide. Their current stop — Baltimore.
“I’ve never been quite this close to a big ship and I thought this is huge,” said Betty Robinson.
The fleet consists of Kashima, Setoyuki and Asagiri — two training vessels and a destroyer ship. On board, there are about 200 newly commissioned officers who are seeing this part of the world for the first time.
“I have to say congratulations. You are 240 times birthday. Sorry we missed your Independence Day,” said Iwasaki Hidetoshi, rear admiral and commander.
Two of the vessels are stationed at the Inner Harbor and another at Broadway Pier in Fells Point.
“They’re welcome. They’re nice people and they come in peace,” one visitor said.
Sail Baltimore, a nonprofit group that brings visiting ships into the city, is hosting free public tours this week.
“We call it our roving museum, so it’s always different each time a ship comes,” said Nan Nawrocki, V.P., Sail Baltimore.
The commander says the visit is just another example of the strong relationship between the U.S. and Japan.
“We still continue to work with United States Navy to make a more leading role for the national and also worldwide securities,” said Hidetoshi.
Exploring U.S. culture while showcasing their own.
“I think it’s really good for them to explore the U.S. as well as us exploring them,” said visitor Thai Do. “You know, learn more about what they do.”
The training cruise will be done in November. Each ship has its own touring schedule.
On Thursday afternoon, the Japanese squadron band will be offering a free concert at the Harborplace Amphitheater. It starts at 4 p.m.