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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 May 11 - 17  > Gov’t must abolish ‘secret agreement’ with US over bringing-in of nuclear weapons to Japan
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2016 May 11 - 17 [POLITICS]
editorial 

Gov’t must abolish ‘secret agreement’ with US over bringing-in of nuclear weapons to Japan

May 12, 2016
Akahata editorial

In 1969, U.S. President Richard Nixon and Japanese Prime Minister Sato Eisaku agreed to Okinawa’s reversion and also concluded a secret agreement pertaining to the bringing-in of nuclear weapons to Okinawa. It has come to light that an official document of the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed the existence of this secret agreement. The secret nuclear pact on Okinawa allows the U.S. military to bring in nuclear weapons to Okinawa in the event of emergencies as it did during its occupation, even after the prefecture’s return to Japan in 1972. The Foreign Ministry’s expert panel in its report in 2010 denied the validity of the secret pact. However, the DoD document disclosed the contents of the pact which indicate the U.S. intent to bring nuclear arms into Okinawa whenever the need arises. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

Washington maintains its recognition of bilateral secret deal as still valid

The DoD document is called the Secretaries of Defense Historical Series which provide the history of Secretaries of Defense in the postwar period. In this series, the seventh volume which was published in 2015 describes the period between 1969 and 1973 when Melvin Laird was in office. During this period, Okinawa was returned to Japan. Regarding the bilateral agreement on Okinawa’s reversion in 1971, the volume presents this account, “The United States would remove the [nuclear] weapons [from Okinawa] but retained the right to reintroduce them in time of crisis.” This means that the U.S. believes that it has “the right” to introduce nuclear arms to Okinawa “in time of crisis”.

The existence of the secret nuclear deal on Okinawa was already revealed in a book written by Wakaizumi Kei, PM Sato’s secret emissary to the Nixon administration, during talks on Okinawa’s reversion. In addition, the original texts of the secret pact were found in a house of Sato Shinji, former prime minister Sato’s second son and the former industry minister.

The “Agreed Minutes” dated November 21, 1969, shows a secret deal made between then Prime Minister Sato and President Nixon. According to the minutes, Nixon said to Sato, “[I]n time of great emergency the United States Government will require the re-entry of nuclear weapons and transit rights in Okinawa with prior consultation with the Government of Japan. The United States Government would anticipate a favorable response.” Sato responded by saying that Japan “will meet these requirements without delay when such prior consultation takes place.” The U.S. regarded its request to bring nuclear weapons again into Japan or to have them pass through Japan as its “right”, and Japan promised that the response to the request would always be “Yes”.

After investigating into the nuclear pact controversy, an expert committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a report questioning whether the successor to the Sato government was under obligation to this pact. The panel concluded that it cannot necessarily confirm the pact was a secret pact. However, the U.S. DoD history book clearly describes the secret plans on redeployment of nuclear weapons to Okinawa. By releasing the history book, the DoD has made public its recognition that the deal is still valid even today. Japan’s MOFA can no longer craft an excuse.

Nixon in the secret nuclear pact singles out “Kadena, Naha, Henoko, and Nike Hercules units” as nuclear storage locations. He even requires “the standby retention and activation” of these bases.

Voice of opposition to new US base increasing

Mentioned in the Agreed Minutes, Henoko is where the Henoko Ordnance Ammunition Depot is currently located. It is on the coast of Camp Schwab (Nago City), and the two governments want to construct another military base there as a replacement for the U.S. Futenma Marine base (Ginowan City). They also seek to build an ammunition loading facility at the new base.

It is impossible to overlook their plan to make Okinawa again into a U.S. stronghold for a possible preemptive nuclear strike. The government of Japan must admit to the existence of the bilateral secret accord and must have it nullified. It has clearly become important for the general public to loudly say “No!” to the secret nuclear agreement and to increase their efforts to block the new base construction in Henoko.

Past related articles:
> Former US senior gov’t official: secret nuclear pacts on Okinawa are still valid [September 22, 2014]
> Former What past gov’ts did for return of Okinawa [May 16, 2013]
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