Tokyo: Japan confirmed for the first time on Tuesday the existence of once-secret Cold War-era pacts with the US that tacitly allowed nuclear-armed warships to enter Japanese ports in violation of Tokyo`s postwar principles.
While declassified US documents have already confirmed
such 1960s agreements, Tuesday`s revelation broke with decades
of official denials.
The investigation by a government-mandated panel is
part of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama`s campaign to rein in
the power of bureaucrats and make his government, which was
elected to power last year, more open than that of the
long-ruling conservatives, who repeatedly denied the existence
of such pacts.
"It`s regrettable that such facts were not disclosed
to the public for such a long time, even after the end of the
Cold War era," Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada told a news
conference, adding that the investigation was meant to restore
public trust in Japan`s diplomacy.
The panel examined documents surrounding four pacts,
including Tokyo`s tacit permission that US nuclear-armed
warships could make calls at Japanese ports, a violation of
Japan`s so-called three non-nuclear principles not to make,
own or allow the entry of atomic weapons.
There is strong aversion to nuclear weapons in
Japan, the only country to suffer atomic bombings in Hiroshima
and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.