No Nukes In Japan

Japan has no nuclear weapons, but with the many American military bases, there has for a long time been a question about US nuclear weapons brought into such bases, especially in Okinawa. Today, Foreign Minister Okada revealed the result of an investigation into this issue. He said, in effect - yes, when US president Nixon met Japan's prime minister Sato in 1969, they signed a secret agreement that if there was a war or a crisis, Japan would not object to the US bringing its nuclear weapons into Japan, for use elsewhere.

That's the long and the short - I do wonder how the US side will respond to the new evidence.

Prime Minister Sato was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974 for Japan's three non-nuclear principles. In his Nobel Lecture, he said:

I established three non-nuclear principles as a policy of the Japanese Government after deep reflection on the course Japan should take as a country which will not possess nuclear arms. This policy states that we shall not manufacture nuclear weapons, that we shall not possess them and that we shall not bring them into our country. This was later reaffirmed by a resolution of our Diet. I have no doubt that this policy will be pursued by all future governments.

He also mentions quite a lot about nuclear energy in his speech, and "its massive, and potentially destructive, power," while also expressing views on the peaceful uses of this energy.

The questions about the "secret agreement" between Nixon and Sato were first revealed by a Mainichi Shimbun journalist in 1972. Nishiyama Takichi was arrested and convicted over his coverage of the bilateral secret pact on Okinawa reversion and over the years, more information and new evidence were revealed. Nishiyama's scoop and his struggle was compared to the Pentagon Papers scandal in the US around the same time, and Mainichi ran defenses of "the people's right to know" and for the freedom of Japan's press. Sato's government was criticized for an "obsession" with secrecy.

There is no English page about Nishiyama on Wikipedia, perhaps someone will do the honours? Here is the Japanese page. I'm also wondering what happened to the secretary at the Foreign Ministry who leaked the papers to him, and who was also convicted. In 2007, Nishiyama broke his silence on the matter and spoke at the Foreign Correspondent's Club in Tokyo.

Takichi Nishiyama, "Okinawa Secret Pact Scandal"

The official report is now available at Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese):


Clearly, Prime Minister Hatoyama and his government did the right thing to push this issue to completion. Yes, things change. The people have a right to know. But one thing has not changed - Japan's strong resolve to not possess, manufacture or bring these awful weapons into the country.

Okada's comment was reported widely as top news today in Japan:

Okada said that nuclear weapons will never enter Japan again, because the United States has made clear that its warships and warplanes have not carried nuclear arms since the end of the Cold War in 1991.

He reiterated the government's commitment to the country's non-nuclear policies, and said it would consider a stopover by a nuclear-armed US warship to be in violation of the policies.


Tom O said…
This just appeared on bbc:

'Official denial' - governments lying, again.

I think this particular policy is still in place, showing how it SHOULD be done:'s_nuclear-free_zone

"New Zealand's three decade anti-nuclear campaign is the only successful movement of its type in the world which resulted in the nation's nuclear-free zone status being enshrined in legislation."

As I've mentioned before, Martin, when I was in Auckland made a point of visiting the Greenpeace office to ascertain the exact spot where the Rainbow Warrior was sunk, with the loss of life of their Dutch photographer. Went to the spot, took some photos but rather strange. Nothing there in terms of a memorial, just silence and 'nothing', the boat itself now lies in a spot in the Bay of Islands, can dive down to it.

Of course, in time, the French put the squeeze on NZ in terms of exports into europe. And the two that planted the limpet mine got honoured. Governments, eh..
Martin J Frid said…
No, Tom, they are not lying "again" - they are now revealing how Japan's LDP governments and the US managed to lie in the past. There is the big difference.
Tom O said…
Appreciate that, maybe a tad cynical these days ;o) There is a war going on in Iraq that really shouldn't be. A war started on lies. This end big time (cue current Iraq enquiry here. The current PM also happens to be the Chancellor who wouldn't authorise the correct spend for the army when/before the war itself started.)

Anyway, excuse the method - you may want to edit, but just seen this:

One man's irrigation is another's hydro-electric power, ne. Wouldn't mind travelling the length of this river. Rivers are rivers, they tend to BE boundaries rather than that pesky problem of running through them. And, of course, relatedly there is the issue of the Aral Sea. Is there a more surreal landscape on earth?
Martin J Frid said…
We are all connected. The UK enquiry could get interesting.

Water - very important. I did some posts about rivers, do check the Labels. Aral Sea - difficult not to get cynical about that!
Martin J Frid said…
By the way, it was curious that BBC called the deal "open secret" - such an Orvellian term. Here on NHK on regular TV news, they just kept it simple and said うそ。 And it was said many times, by many experts.
Tom O said…
"Water - very important. I did some posts about rivers, do check the Labels."

Lest we forget, tipping hats etc, it was BECAUSE of the above I posted that when saw, ne! (Ie please feel free to edit.) Twas the 'Longest river in Central Asia' angle that caught my eye. 'Central Asia' - aka ex-Soviet satellites.
Martin J Frid said…
The nuclear tests in the USSR and the US were noted in Japan. For example, the infamous Bikini Atoll island hydrogen bomb tests in 1954 affected Japanese boats that were fishing in the region. This led to a huge debate in Japan.
Tom O said…
Maybe sometimes a government just had to do what it had to do, the tie with the US, the diplomatic game etc. Hands tied.

'Nuclear' power stations exist in Japan, that doesn't seem to too much of an issue.

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