Could we soon see the secret deals the US and Japan struck under Ike and later Nixon?
For nearly four decades, the government of Japan, under the seemingly perpetual control of the Liberal Democratic Party, has repeated a well-rehearsed litany of denials in response to queries from the Diet or the press about alleged secret understandings with the United States regarding nuclear weapons. No, there are no such secret understandings. No, in line with former Prime Minister Eisaku Sato's Three Non-Nuclear Principles, the Japanese government has not allowed the introduction of U.S. nuclear weapons into Japanese territory or waters. The U.S. government has added its own denials, following the long-established"neither confirm nor deny" (NCND) policy with regard to the location of nuclear weapons, as well as repeatedly stressing that the U.S. has always acted in accordance with its treaty obligations to Japan.
However, the new Japanese government of Yuko Hatoyama, which took office in September after an historic election that placed his Democratic Party in power, is moving to bring to light these and other secret agreements between Tokyo and Washington entered into during the height of the Cold War. These include:
- A secret understanding reached when the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was revised in 1960 allowing stopovers in Japanese territory by U.S. military aircraft and vessels carrying nuclear weapons
- A second secret codicil to the 1960 Treaty allowing the U.S. to launch military operations with its forces based in Japan in response to renewed hostilities on the Korean peninsula
- A secret agreement reached between President Richard M. Nixon and Prime Minister Sato in November 1969 as part of the negotiations for Okinawa's reversion to Japan in 1972 that would allow the U.S. military to bring nuclear weapons into Japan in emergency situations
- Arrangements for financial payments by the Japanese government to the U.S. to be used for the restoration of sites vacated by American forces as part of the Okinawa reversion agreement. (Note 1)
The new Japanese Foreign Minister, Katsuya Okada, has instructed ministry officials to examine documents on these secret understandings and agreements, a significant effort given reports that the ministry archives hold nearly 2,700 volumes of material relating to negotiation of the 1960 Mutual Security Treaty and about 570 volumes dealing with Okinawa reversion.
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