The family of a former Japanese prime minister has saved a copy of a secret agreement that allowed stopovers in Japan by U.S. military vessels and aircraft armed with nuclear weapons, Agence France-Presse reported yesterday (see GSN, Dec. 9).
The two-page agreement was kept by the family of Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato, who signed the deal in 1969 with U.S. President Richard Nixon, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun. Previous administrations in Tokyo maintained that the island nation had no such agreement with the United States, which would appear to violate Japan's prohibition against hosting nuclear weapons (Agence France-Presse/Spacewar.com, Dec. 22).
The discovery of the document -- held by Sato's family since the 1987 death of the politician's wife -- could affect the proceedings of a commission established recently by Japan's Foreign Ministry to investigate rumors about the nuclear deal and other undisclosed agreements, Kyodo News reported.
"I will leave the matter to the experts' panel launched by Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada to come up with a conclusion about the document," Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said yesterday.
"We need to confirm whether it is an official document," added Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano (Kyodo News/Breitbart.com, Dec. 22).
In 1991, then-U.S. President George H.W. Bush formally ended the deployment of nonstrategic nuclear weapons on U.S. ships, substantially reducing the likelihood that nuclear weapons would be transferred through Japan (Agence France-Presse).