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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 September 17 - 23  > Former US senior gov’t official: secret nuclear pacts on Okinawa are still valid
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2014 September 17 - 23 [POLITICS]

Former US senior gov’t official: secret nuclear pacts on Okinawa are still valid

September 22, 2014
Morton H. Halperin, a former U.S. senior government official in charge of negotiations on the 1972 reversion of Okinawa to Japan, admitted to the existence of secret agreements allowing the U.S. to bring its nuclear weapons into Okinawa in emergencies and said that they are still valid today.

Appearing in Akahata on September 22, the U.S. expert in foreign policy suggested that a record of discussions on the secret pacts on nuclear weapons in Okinawa be disclosed to the public if it serves the common good.

His testimony revealed that the U.S. military still maintains its privileges as an occupation army in Okinawa.

The secret deal on nuclear weapons in Okinawa is shown in the minutes of an accord signed in November 1969 by then Prime Minister Sato Eisaku and President Richard M. Nixon. The two leaders agreed on the removal of all nuclear weapons from Okinawa by the time Okinawa was returned to Japan and on the reintroduction of nuclear weapons into Okinawa in times of emergency situations.

The late Wakaizumi Kei, a Japanese secret messenger, published a book in 1994 and revealed the existence of the minutes. According to the account he gives in the book, Halperin and he played a part in forging the deal. In 2009, the original text of the minutes was discovered in Sato’s house. However, the foreign ministry under the then Democratic Party of Japan government insisted that no such documents exist. The government concluded that it was only a tacit agreement, denying its validity.

Halperin told an Akahata reporter that Okinawa has been without nuclear weapons since its reversion to Japan in 1972, but the Japanese Communist Party confirmed the fact that U.S. fighter jets in July 1974 dropped mock nuclear bombs on Ie-jima Island in Okinawa as part of their training exercises.

Documents declassified by the U.S. authorities uncovered the existence of four secret agreements, including the 1960 nuclear deal signed by the then Foreign Minister Fujiyama Aiichiro and then U.S. Ambassador to Japan Douglas MacArthur II as well as the 1969 deal on nuclear weapons in Okinawa.

So long as the secret agreements are valid, the U.S. military can bring nuclear weapons into Japan at any time. The government of Japan should carry out a thorough investigation into this issue and abrogate the bilateral secret agreements, Akahata stated.
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