The U.S. military said Wednesday the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington will leave this week from Virginia for the Yokosuka naval base near Tokyo, replacing another Nimitz-class vessel, the Ronald Reagan.

The George Washington, which was deployed to the base from 2008 to 2015, is due to depart from Naval Station Norfolk on Thursday, sailing through the Pacific after rounding Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America, it said.

Before arriving at the Japanese port city by the end of the year, the carrier is expected to sail with warships from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay, according to the U.S. Navy. Port calls are also planned in Brazil, Chile and Peru.

File photo taken in May 2015 shows the U.S. aircraft George Washington leaving the U.S. Navy's Yokosuka base near Tokyo.(Kyodo)

The replacement of the Ronald Reagan for an overhaul will take place because overseas deployments of naval ships are limited to 10 years under U.S. law.

In 2008, the George Washington's arrival in Yokosuka marked the first permanent deployment of a nuclear-powered carrier at a Japanese port.