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city, Hiroshima ken (prefecture), southwestern Honshu, Japan, on the Inland Sea. Its excellent natural harbour is surrounded by mountains and screened from the sea by mountainous islands. Because of its seclusion, Kure was chosen as the site of a major naval base in 1886. During World War II its shipyards and foundries produced the Yamato, one of the largest battleships ever built. The city now builds merchant ships and oil tankers for export. Kure's industries experienced serious economic depression after the 1973 oil-price increases. Pop. (2005) 251,003.