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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 February 28 - March 6  > Japan’s high-ranking diplomat agreed to US proposal on nuclear facility construction in Okinawa
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2018 February 28 - March 6 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Japan’s high-ranking diplomat agreed to US proposal on nuclear facility construction in Okinawa

March 5, 2018

Akahata on March 5 reported that during the U.S. Obama administration’s compilation process of a new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) in 2009, a diplomat of the Japanese embassy in the United States gave a supportive comment in regard to the construction of a nuclear storage site in Okinawa.

It is the first time that a Japanese government official was found to have made statements approving the deployment of nuclear weapons to Okinawa after its reversion to Japan in 1972. The diplomat’s remark in question clearly violated Japan’s three Nonnuclear Principles of not allowing the production, possession, or entry of nuclear weapons into Japan and this shocked and angered people in Okinawa.

The Akahata report is based on a memorandum compiled by staff of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, an advisory body established in preparation for U.S. President Obama’s new NPR. The memo is about a meeting that the commission held to hear opinions from officials of the Japanese embassy in the U.S. Akahata obtained the document through Gregory Kulacki of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

According to the memorandum, the meeting took place on February 25, 2009. The participants included commission vice chair and former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger and Political Counselor at the Embassy of Japan Akiba Takeo, who now is the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs. The document states that in response to Shlensinger’s question on “how Japan might view the construction of a nuclear storage site on Okinawa or Guam”, Akiba stated that “he found such a proposal persuasive”.

After the end of World War II, Okinawa was placed under the governance of the U.S. military occupation. As of 1967, 1,300 nuclear weapons were deployed on the island. Although the warheads were removed when Okinawa was returned to Japan in May 1972, Japanese Prime Minister Sato Eisaku and U.S. President Richard Nixon in November 1969 made a secret agreement by which the U.S. maintains the right to bring in nuclear weapons at any time to Okinawa in the event of an "emergency" even after its reversion to Japan.

Past related articles:
> New US NPR will enhance likelihood of bringing-in nukes into Japan: JCP Fujino [February 15, 2018]
> JCP demands government break away from U.S. nuclear umbrella [August 10, 2009]
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