The Guardian August 23, 2000

Japanese Government lied on nuclear weapons

The Japanese Communist Party has tabled official US documents in the 
Japanese Diet which reveal that the government has been lying to the 
Japanese people for years about agreements with the US which concern the 
introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan on US ships and aircraft.

The Japanese Government has persistently claimed that it is bound by the 
three non-nuclear principles  not to possess, manufacture or allow 
nuclear weapons to be brought into Japan.

Successive US administrations, those of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon 
and now Clinton claim that agreements entered into with the Japanese 
government give the US legal rights for its ships and aircraft to enter 
Japanese ports with nuclear weapons.

In what must be regarded as an extraordinary situation the US and Japan 
have entered into an "exchange of notes", a "record of discussion" and a 
"further classified understanding, not committed to writing".

Faced with the US archival documents the present Japanese Government 
continues to deny everything.

"By denying everything that we have revealed, the Japanese Government 
continues telling lies", said Japanese Communist Party chairman Tetsuzo 
Fuwa when presenting the documents and challenging Prime Minister Mori in 
the Diet.

It is clear from the documents that the Japanese Government has been 
closing its eyes to the nuclear-armed ships visiting Japanese ports and 
airfields, even to the point of agreeing to the "homeporting" of US 
nuclear-armed warships in Japanese ports over long periods of time.

Hiding from the public

"Let me make it clear", said Mr Fuwa, "that this important agreement, that 
the entry of nuclear armed ships will not be subjected to prior 
consultation, is exactly what the Japanese Government has been hiding from 
the public for the past 40 years.

"And in order to conceal the lie, the Government has continued to talk 
about [a] non-existence agreement for 32 years to show the public that the 
question has been settled and that the Government has nothing to comment on 
any more."

The archieval documents also reveal that US Governments have gone to great 
lengths to help the Japanese Government cover up its deception of the 
Japanese people.

Cover up

One of the released documents (dated June 14, 1961) reveals how the US 
Government was prepared to help meet the public relations problem in Japan. 
The document says that there are a number of steps that the US authorities 
would be prepared to take, and lists them as:

1. Appropriate public statements on the nature and the safety of nuclear 
power plants, including lists of the many ports around the world that have 
been safety visited by nuclear-powered submarines.

2. An appropriate statement of the mission of attack-type submarines, 
designed to make it as clear as possible that they do not in fact carry 
nuclear weapons, but still remain within the framework of the present 
policy of neither confirming nor denying the presence of nuclear weapons 
aboard specific vessels.

3. Emphasise in publicity the similarity of the submarine's power plan to 
the land-based nuclear power plants already established in Japan. (The 
document adds that this approach would be more effective if the first visit 
was by a civilian vessel.)

4. Arrangements for high Japanese officials to make a brief cruise on board 
the submarine.

5. Arrangements to use the submarine in practice exercises with Japanese 
Maritime Self-Defence Force anti-submarine units.

In this discussion the US President is recorded as suggesting that perhaps 
they could say that the nuclear devices aboard American ships in the 
Pacific were rendered non-operational before entering Japanese territorial 

In 1966 the Soviet Government made a proposal to conclude a treaty 
guaranteeing that the nuclear powers would not attack with nuclear weapons 
any country which did not have nuclear weapons on its territory.

This proposal was aimed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to other 

When the Japanese Foreign Minister of the time expressed an opinion in 
favour of the proposed treaty, the US leaders went into overdrive to 
scuttle it.

The US Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, sent a secret cable to the US 
Ambassador in Japan saying that Japan should have difficulty in accepting 
the Soviet proposal because of the "confidential arrangements with [the] US 
on the introduction of nuclear weapons under the 1960 Security Treaty."

The Rusk telegram goes on to "remind" the Government of Japan of the 
confidential agreement that "affords the US the right to seek Government of 
Japan consent to the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan".

The active opposition of the US at the time prevented even this modest 
proposal from being accepted and, since then, nuclear weapons have spread 
to a number of other countries.

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