Locally based USS Wasp relocating to Japan in 2017

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Oct. 12, 2016) Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Estep watches the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) transit the Mediterranean Sea. Wasp is deployed with the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan Wilkes/Released)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The locally based amphibious assault ship USS Wasp will be relocating to Japan next year.

The Navy says this move is part of a rebalancing strategy to increase their presence in the Pacific Fleet. The Wasp will move from Norfolk to Sasebo, Japan in the fall of 2017.

According to Navy officials, the USS Wasp recently underwent a modernization, making it capable of accommodating Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35B).

Sailors aboard the Wasp took part in a joint non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO) exercise last month in Oman. The Wasp deployed to the Navy’s 5th and 6th fleet of operations last summer.