`Japan PM knew of secret nuke pact in 1960 treaty talks`
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Last Updated: Saturday, June 26, 2010, 15:09
Tokyo: Erstwhile Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi and Foreign Minister Aiichiro Fujiyama were aware of a diplomatic record to allow US nuclear-armed vessels to enter Japanese ports without prior consultation amounted to a secret agreement, when they negotiating the revised Japan-US security treaty in 1960, US document showed.

Akira Kurosaki, associate professor of international politics at Fukushima University, found the document at the US National Archives. It is the first time such a document has been found.

The Confidential Record of Discussion, forged by Fujiyama and the US side, had a clause reflecting the US preference for excluding transits and port calls by US vessels carrying nuclear weapons from requiring prior consultation under the security treaty.

The newly found document -- a confidential letter exchanged between US officials in Tokyo and Washington in 1963 -- states Kishi and Fujiyama "clearly understood" the meaning of the document, challenging a recent conclusion reached by a panel of experts commissioned by the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

In a report on secret nuclear pacts released in March, the panel stopped short of acknowledging the Confidential Record of Discussion as direct evidence of a secret agreement.

The panel concluded that, at the time of revising the security treaty, Japan and the United States "intentionally" avoided pursuing whether the entry of US vessels into Japanese ports would be subject to prior consultation so as not to disrupt their alliance.

Such a tacit agreement, or "secret pact in a broad sense," became fixed after US Ambassador to Japan Edwin Reischauer told Foreign Minister Masayoshi Ohira in 1963 that Washington did not consider the port calls as subject to prior consultation.

But the newly found document contradicts the panel's conclusion.

In a letter dated March 15, 1963, Earle Richey, first secretary of the US Embassy in Tokyo, told Robert Fearey, officer in charge of Japanese affairs at the US State Department's Office of East Asian Affairs, that "the meaning of paragraph 2c. of the Confidential Record of Discussion was clearly understood by Kishi and Fujiyama at the time of the Treaty negotiations," quoting Fearey's statement in his letter of February 12, 1962.

Paragraph 2c stipulated that existing procedures concerning transits and port calls by US vessels and aircraft -- which had been in place before the treaty revision -- would be excluded from prior consultation requirements.


First Published: Saturday, June 26, 2010, 15:09

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