To keep a secret pact from being exposed prior to the 1972 reversion of Okinawa, the United States agreed to a Japanese request to delay paying compensation to local landowners, according to recently revealed U.S. documents.
Under the deal, the central government agreed to shoulder the million cost to restore Okinawa’s land to its original state.
In the end, the compensation actually paid to the landowners came to less thantaxpayers’ money. The Okinawa secret pact is just the tip of the iceberg,” the 75-year-old added. million, according to the documents in the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
An Okinawa reversion agreement signed in June 1971 stipulated that the U.S. would “voluntarily” pay to convert military land into farmland. However, Japan reportedly shouldered the cost by slipping the million into the 0 million Tokyo paid to Washington to buy U.S. assets along with the reversion.
According to the documents, the 0 million was to be paid in five installments, and million was to be diverted to a trust fund to be set up from the first installment of 0 million, which was to be paid in May 1972, so that the compensation payment could begin by the end of 1972.
Lawmakers of the then main opposition Japan Socialist Party had taken up the secret pact in the Diet between late March and early April 1972, based on copies of classified diplomatic documents obtained by a Mainichi Shimbun reporter, Takichi Nishiyama.
The government denied the existence of the secret pact.
A U.S. Department of Treasury document dated May 11, 1972, indicates Japan requested the United States postpone the payment on the grounds that setting up a trust fund would mean publicly acknowledging the existence of the secret deal.
The Treasury Department then decided to postpone the start of the compensation payment until 1973 after reviewing the case along with the departments of State and Defense, according to the documents.
Nishiyama was arrested in April 1972, along with his news source, a Foreign Ministry clerk, over the information leak. The development is believed to have prompted Washington to comply with the Japanese so the arrests could not reignite debates on the secret pact.
The trust fund was established in 1973. Of the million Japan had provided the U.S., less than taxpayers’ money. The Okinawa secret pact is just the tip of the iceberg,” the 75-year-old added. million was paid to landowners in Okinawa, and some of the million went to pay expenses for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which was charged with the compensation payment, according to the documents.
Nishiyama, who was later convicted and given a suspended prison term, said, “It is as if the United States defrauded landowners and embezzled the money that should have been returned to Japan.
“The United States has siphoned off – taxpayers’ money. The Okinawa secret pact is just the tip of the iceberg,” the 75-year-old added.
Nishiyama failed to clear his name in March when the Tokyo District Court rejected his damages suit against the government in which he argued his career was ruined by an illegal conviction stemming from his scoop of the secret pact.
In February 2006, Bunroku Yoshino, a retired diplomat who negotiated with Washington on Okinawa’s reversion as director general of the Foreign Ministry’s then American Bureau, admitted to the existence of the secret pact.
Okinawa remained under U.S. control under the 1952 San Francisco peace treaty until it was returned to Japanese rule in May 1972.
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