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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 March 21 - 27  > Additional evidence supports approval by Japan’s diplomat for deployment of nuclear weapons in Okinawa
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2018 March 21 - 27 [POLITICS]

Additional evidence supports approval by Japan’s diplomat for deployment of nuclear weapons in Okinawa

March 24, 2018
Additional evidence indicates that one of Japan’s top diplomats in 2009 made an affirmative remark regarding a U.S. plan to construct a U.S. nuclear storage site in Okinawa. This is a major embarrassment to the Japanese government which has insisted that the diplomat did not made such a remark.

The evidence is a handwritten memorandum that Gregory Kulacki of the Union of Concerned Scientists on March 23 presented to Okinawa-elected opposition party lawmakers at a meeting in Tokyo.

The memo, dated February 25, 2009, is a record of remarks in a hearing held by the U.S. Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, an advisory body set up in preparation for former President Obama’s new nuclear strategy. The hearing was attended by Akiba Takeo, who was the political counselor of the Japanese Embassy in the U.S. at that time. According to the memo, asked by commission vice chair James Schlesinger if it is possible for Japan to consider making policy changes to accept the deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons on Okinawa, Akiba replied that it is politically unrealistic. Schlesinger went on to ask what about a “storage site on Okinawa w/o weapons” and Akiba said it “sounds persuasive to me”.

The document was stored by the United States Institute of Peace which archives documents and other materials concerning the Congressional commission. Kulacki obtained the memo through an information disclosure request.

Akahata on March 5 reported about Akiba’s remark regarding a nuclear storage site in Okinawa at the commission meeting based on another document provided by Kulacki. The diplomat’s statement clearly contradicts Japan’s Three Nonnuclear Principles of not possessing, not producing, and not allowing the entry of nuclear weapons into its territory.

The government is desperate to deny the remark by Akiba, who is at present the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs. Foreign Minister Kono Taro on March 20 at a House of Representatives Security Committee meeting in response to a question by Japanese Communist Party parliamentarian Akamine Seiken claimed that Akiba did not make such a remark.

Past related articles:
> Ex-US official: the memo on N-deployment in Okinawa is genuine [March 15, 2018]
> Japan’s high-ranking diplomat agreed to US proposal on nuclear facility construction in Okinawa [March 5, 2018]

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