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Earlier this week Kyodo News dropped a bombshell (pun intended) by introducing the contents of declassified U.S. documents that the U.S. government turned down a request in June 1978 for its military based in Japan to use its firing and bombing ranges in the Senkaku Islands.

The reason given in the story, reprinted on April 5 in The Japan Times (“U.S. ceased using Senkaku islets as firing range in 1978 to avoid riling China”), is that the U.S. government feared “it could become embroiled in a Sino-Japanese territorial dispute.”

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