Updates About The Secret Nuclear Pacts

The Daily Yomiuri adds to the debate about nuclear weapons and the possibility that the US brought them into Japan:

The Yomiuri: 3 secret pacts confirmed / 1960 accord allowed U.S. to bring nuclear arms into Japan

I am more impressed by this AP article, Japan confirms Cold War-era 'secret' pacts with US. It brings us the perspective of the non-governmental peace organizations, talking to Sunao Tsuboi from the Japan Confederation of Atomic and Hydrogen Bomb Sufferers Organizations, or Nihon Hidankyo:
Sunao Tsuboi, who survived the Hiroshima bombing on Aug. 6, 1945, was outraged by the findings, saying they reflected the government's past hypocrisy.

"While stressing that Japan is the only country attacked by atomic attacks, the government was secretly allowing nuclear weapons inside the country," said Tsuboi, a co-chair of a nationwide organization for atomic bomb survivors.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue called the government's past behavior deceitful.

Even after American officials acknowledged the pacts in the 1990s, leaders of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party persistently denied them, up to and including Taro Aso, the last LDP prime minister before Hatoyama's Democratic Party of Japan took over.

The six-member panel of academics examined more than 4,000 files and documents surrounding four pacts, and confirmed three existed.

Most controversial was the finding that past governments had given tacit permission to U.S. nuclear-armed warships to make calls at Japanese ports - a violation of Japan's so-called three non-nuclear principles not to make, own or allow the entry of atomic weapons.

The panel, led by University of Tokyo professor Shinichi Kitaoka, said that while documents showed that Washington and Tokyo appeared to have differing interpretations about allowing nuclear-armed ships into Japanese waters, it was likely that Tokyo and Washington shared an unspoken understanding permitting them to make port calls in Japan without consent.

The panel also acknowledged that Tokyo and Washington had secret agreements allowing the U.S. to use military bases in Japan without prior consent in case of emergency on the Korean peninsula during the Korean War.

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada told a news conference the findings shouldn't have any impact on Tokyo's ties with Washington, which are currently strained over a dispute about the relocation of a Marine base on the southern island of Okinawa.

Under a security alliance with the U.S., some 47,000 American troops are stationed in Japan, and the U.S. protects the country under its nuclear umbrella.

The investigation, Okada said, was meant to restore public trust in Japan's diplomacy and government policies.

"It's regrettable that such facts were not disclosed to the public for such a long time, even after the end of the Cold War era," he said.

Political experts said the move could spur further steps to increase openness in Japan's government and bureaucracy.

"It's a good thing for Japanese democracy, given that the previous governments have been telling blunt lies to the public," said Koichi Nakano, a political science professor at Sophia University in Tokyo. "This is a push toward more openness."

Comments

Pandabonium said…
"the U.S. protects the country under its nuclear umbrella"

I really wonder about that. If things got really out of hand and some country let loose a nuke on Japan, say North Korea, would the US retaliate with a nuclear strike? Really? First off, surely nearly all the victims of such a retaliation would be civilians. Secondly, there is the very real possibility of triggering defensive reactions from China and Russia resulting in a massive exchange. Would a president of the US order such a strike? (Personally, I hope not.)

In that case, is there any real advantage in being under someone's "nuclear umbrella"? No. It is all madness, and we should be rejecting such arrangements and moving toward global nuclear disarmament which is still not only possible, but perhaps mankind's only hope of making it through the 21st century.
Tom O said…
"First off, surely nearly all the victims of such a retaliation would be civilians."

As was the case with the vast majority (if not all??) in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And Tokyo in March '45.

Defensive reactions - a possibility if not probability. As you say, its all madness. Too many of these things are still around, pointing somewhere.

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