World News

U.S. hopes comics soothe Japan worries on warship

With Rio de Janeiro's famous Sugar Loaf mountain as a backdrop, the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) arrives in port, April 22, 2008. REUTERS/Bruno Domingos

TOKYO (Reuters) - The U.S. navy hopes to tap Japan’s “manga” comic culture to soothe worries over the deployment of a nuclear-powered warship for the first time to the only country to suffer an atomic bombing.

The navy will distribute free copies of a 200-page manga in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, where the aircraft carrier USS George Washington will be based, with downloads also available online, U.S. Naval Forces Japan said in a statement on Wednesday.

The manga features a Japanese-American sailor and includes a scene in which the character quickly snuffs out a small fire on the warship, scheduled to be deployed in August, Kyodo news agency said.

A fire on the ship leaving one sailor with minor burns and 23 others with heat stress, according to media, was widely reported in Japan last month, fuelling worries over the safety of the nuclear power on board.

Japan suffered two U.S. atomic bomb attacks in August 1945 which were quickly followed by Tokyo’s surrender, ending World War Two. More than 210,000 people died from the bombings or their effects that year, and a nearly equal number in subsequent years according to Japanese estimates.

Residents in Yokosuka were also angered earlier this year over the U.S. navy’s presence in the city after a sailor was arrested on suspicion of murdering and robbing a taxi driver.

Reporting by Chisa Fujioka; Editing by Jerry Norton