Nuclear unit deployed to U.S. Yokota Air Base in 1970s
The U.S. Forces had a detachment to handle nuclear weapons deployed to the U.S. Yokota Air Base in Tokyo in the early 1970s, according to a declassified U.S. government document discovered by Niihara Shoji, an analyst of nuclear issues. He made this revelation at a seminar sponsored by the Association for a Non-Nuclear Government in Tokyo on July 19.
The document is a "top secret" telegram that the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Robert S. Ingersoll, sent to U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers on July 19, 1972. Niihara discovered this at the U.S. National Security Archive in Washington D.C.
In this telegram, titled "Permissive Action Link (PAL)" Program, concerning the planned deployment of the Management Control Division at Yokota to handle PAL's operation, Ambassador Ingersoll stated that the assignment to Yokota of MCD, a small unit of 33 personnel, "is not contrary to the (Japan-U.S.) security treaty or prior consultation agreement, disclosure of its mission will raise severe public opinion and political problems for GOJ and, consequently, for USG," and that "MCD's responsibilities and operations be very strictly safeguarded."
Niihara stated, "This shows that the U.S. forces had deployed a unit essential for the use of nuclear weapons" to the Yokota base and that this shows that the U.S. government had been afraid that Japan's public sentiments toward nuclear weapons could become a political issue to both the U.S. and Japanese governments.
Referring to the U.S. Bush administration's dangerous policy of preemptive use of nuclear weapons, Niihara said he suspects that nuclear weapons have been re-deployed to its overseas bases.
It is half a century since the U.S. aircraft carrier Oriskany carrying nuclear weapons entered the U.S. Yokosuka Naval Base in October 1953. The need now is for Japan's peace forces to urge the Japanese government to strictly observe the Three Non-Nuclear Principles and to have Japan-U.S. secret nuclear promises abolished and non-nuclear principles legislated, Niihara stressed.
Following is the July 19, 1972 telegram U.S. Ambassador to Japan Robert Ingersoll sent to U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers:
TOPSECRET TOKYO 6236
SUBJECT: PERMISSIVE ACTION LINK (PAL) PROGRAM
REF: A. COMUSJAPAN 0800402 JUN 72: R?. COMUSJAPAN
1405102 JUN 72
EMBASSY REQUESTS FOLLOWING VIEWS BE CONVEYED TO CINCPAC, AND THROUGH CINCPAC TO STATE AND DEFENSE, RE STATIONING MCD UNIT AT YOKOTA.
1. EMBASSY CONCURS IN CONCEPT STATIONING SMALL MANAGEMENT CONTROL DETACHMENT (MCD) UNIT AT YOKOTA. WE BELIEVE THAT SMALL SIZE OF MCD (UNDERSTOOD TO BE 17 ARMY AND 16 AIR FORCE FOR A TOTAL OF 33 PERSONNEL) WOULD HELP AVOID LIKELIHOOD ITS TRUE RESPONSIBILITIES WOULD BECOME PUBLIC. WE WELCOME INDICATIONS FROM COMUSJAPAN THAT UNCLASSIFIED TERMS OF REFERENCE WILL BE VAGUE (E.G. RESPONSIBLE FOR COORDINATION OF MATTERS PERTAINING TO CONTROL OF AIR FORCE MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES), AND THAT MCD ASSIGNMENT TO 475TH AIR BASE WING AT YOKOTA FOR LOGISTIC SUPPORT WOULD FURTHER BURY UNIT IN LARGER ORGANIZATION.
2. WE DO THINK THAT, ALTHOUGH ASSIGNMENT OF MCD TO YOKOTA IS NOT CONTRARY TO SECURITY TREATY OR PRIOR CONSULTATION AGREEMENT, DISCLOSURE OF ITS MISSION WILL RAISE SEVERE PUBLIC OPINION AND POLITICAL PROBLEMS FOR GOJ AND, CONSEQUENTLY, FOR USG.
THEREFORE, IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT MCD'S RESPONSIBILITIES AND OPERATIONS BE VERY STRICTLY SAFEGUARDED, WHICH IS AN OBJECTIVE EMBASSY IS CERTAIN IS SHARED BY COMUSJAPAN AND CINCPAC.
Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved.