Japan to Come Clean About Secret Military Pacts with U.S.

      February 25, 2010 08:40

      The Japanese government will officially admit that it signed two secret pacts with the U.S. in 1960 and 1972, allowing the U.S. Forces Japan to intervene in a war on the Korean Peninsula without consulting Tokyo and allowing the U.S. to deploy nuclear weapons in Okinawa in a regional emergency.

      The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Wednesday that an expert committee at the Japanese Foreign Ministry recently investigated the question and recommended admitting the existence of the two secret pacts. They will be made public in March.

      The first pact was agreed when the two countries revised the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. The second was concluded before the U.S. returned Okinawa to Japan, and states that the U.S. can bring nuclear weapons to the island after consultations with Tokyo.

      Japan had consistently denied the existence of the secret pacts, but the new government, which pursues a policy of greater transparency and reduced dependence on the U.S., launched the investigation since its inauguration last September.

      Based on a report from the committee, the Yukio Hatoyama administration will decide what to do with the secret pacts. Of the two, the 1972 nuclear pact is likely to be scrapped since it runs counter to Japan's three anti-nuclear principles banning the possession, production and import of nuclear arms.

      The agreement on the USFJ's automatic intervention in a war on the Korean Peninsula could spark heated debate among Japan's neighbors.

      But the committee denied the existence of a third pact, also signed in 1960, rumoured to allow U.S. nuclear-powered ships to call at Japanese ports or U.S. aircraft carrying nuclear weapons to pass Japanese airspace. "It is obvious that there were talks on the issue, but there is no evidence that the two countries reached any agreement," the committee concluded.

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