Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori on Wednesday dismissed charges by the Japanese Communist Party that there was a secret deal between Japan and the United States to allow U.S. nuclear weapons into Japanese territory.
Mori told a Diet debate session that he knew nothing about a declassified 1959 U.S. document presented by JCP leader Tetsuzo Fuwa, which indicates that U.S. aircraft and naval vessels carrying nuclear weapons are allowed to enter Japan without prior consultation with Tokyo.
“(The government) believes that such a deal did not exist,” Mori said at Wednesday’s question time debate session in the Diet.
The contents of the U.S. document contradicts Tokyo’s long-standing official position that Japan will never own, produce or allow any other country to bring nuclear weapons into Japan under the nation’s “three nonnuclear principles.”
The JCP said the document, the “Record of Discussion” dated June 1959, is one of three secret documents signed in Tokyo on January 6, 1960, by then-U.S. Ambassador to Japan Douglas MacArthur II and then-Foreign Minister Aiichiro Fujiyama.
The record was found by Shoji Niihara, a JCP official, at a U.S. National Archives annex in Maryland in February. Niihara says it was found attached to another declassified document, titled “Comparison of U.S. Base Rights in Japan and the Ryukyu Islands,” which was jointly compiled in 1966 by the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon.
During Wednesday’s session, however, Mori dismissed the JCP’s charge, telling Fuwa that the material is “not worth the government’s responsible judgment.”
While Fuwa said one of the two original copies of the 1959 document must be kept by Japan’s Foreign Ministry, Mori said he does not believe the government is in possession of such a document.
Fuwa warned that if Tokyo continues to deny the existence of the deal, it will eventually end up embarrassing the U.S. government.
“So does that mean Ambassador MacArthur forged such a deal and officially made a false report to the U.S. State Department, which made the false story public in their documents?” asked Fuwa.
Tokyo and Washington signed an exchange of notes on January 19, 1960, that stipulates: “Major changes in the deployment into Japan of the United States armed forces . . . shall be subjects of prior consultation with the Government of Japan.”
The agreement has provided the basis for successive Japanese Cabinets to claim that Japan is free of U.S. nuclear weapons because Washington has never proposed such “prior consultation” with Japan.
The record obtained by the JCP, however, reveals loopholes in the 1960 agreement. It states that “major change in the deployment” is understood to mean the “introduction” into Japan of nuclear weapons and does not mean the “entry” of those weapons.
” ‘Prior consultation’ will not be interpreted as affecting present procedures regarding the deployment of United States armed forces and their equipment into Japan and those for the entry of United States military aircraft and the entry into Japanese waters and ports by United States naval vessels,” the document shows.
The document had been declassified by the U.S. Army, the JCP says. , adding that it is not known when it was declassified.
“We have already learned from various documents and sources that there was a secret nuclear weapons deal between Japan and America, but this is the first time the deal itself has been found,” said Fuwa.
The JCP has long pressured the authorities over the nuclear allegation, but its claims have been simply dismissed by the government with the repeated line: “There is no deal like that.”