Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo at a press conference on March 9 responded to questions in regard to a report on Japan-U.S. secret pacts on nuclear weapons published by the Foreign Ministry’s expert panel:
Question: How do you see the report’s recognition of “secret pacts in a broad sense”?
Shii: Although the report acknowledges the existence of the “Record of Discussion,” it fails to designate it as a secret agreement to exclude port calls of vessels carrying nuclear weapons from requirement for prior consultation. This is the biggest problem I see with the report.
The report claims, “It is difficult to acknowledge Clause 2 of the second section of the record as evidence of a Japan-U.S. ‘secret agreement’ to exclude port calls of U.S. vessels carrying nuclear weapons from prior consultation,” and, “There has been no clear agreements reached between Japan and the U.S. that determined whether or not port calls of warships carrying nuclear weapons are subject to prior consultation.”
However, the “Record of Discussion” itself is a secret pact on nuclear arms entry and is an official document comprising a part of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. As the 1963 discussion between U.S. Ambassador Edwin O. Reischauer and Foreign Minister Ohira Masayoshi made clear, “full mutual understanding” regarding interpretation of the “Record of Discussion” was made between the two nations. Therefore, it is unreasonable for the ministry panel to argue that the two governments had interpreted the “Record of Discussion” in a different manner and that it cannot be recognized as a secret pact on nuclear arms entry.
The panel states in its report, “The Japanese government did not agree with the U.S. government’s interpretation (on the ‘Record of Discussion’). However, instead of asking the U.S. side to correct its interpretation, it tacitly permitted port calls of vessels carrying nuclear weapons without prior consultation. A ‘tacit agreement’ existed between Japan and the U.S. trying to avoid obstacles to management of their alliance.” Then the report acknowledges this “tacit agreement” as a “secret pact in a broad sense.”
It also states, “There has been no clear agreement reached between the Japanese and U.S. governments” to exclude port calls of nuclear weapons-equipped vessels from prior consultation, and the report refuses to recognize the “Record of Discussion” as a secret pact. This is the biggest issue of concern regarding the report.
Shii: What happens if the government negates the existence of any secret agreement allowing nuclear weapons to be brought into Japan? It means that Japan will say nothing to the United States about the matter in the future. If the government honestly admits to the existence of secret agreements on the bringing of nuclear weapons into Japan, it will provide the government with the leverage with which to negotiate with the United States for the secret agreements to be abolished. However, the government negation of any such secret pact will rob the government of any rationale to negotiate with the United States. In other words, there is no reason to abolish anything that does not exist. In fact, Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya at his news conference today (March 9) repeated that he is not going to do anything when he was asked if he intends to take any action with the United States on this matter.
Unless the government clearly acknowledges that the “Record of Discussion” was a secret agreement on bringing nuclear weapons into Japan by regarding the calls to Japanese ports by U.S. vessels laden with nuclear weapons not a matter for Japan-U.S. prior consultation, the government cannot demand the secret pact be abolished. To not admit the secret agreement exists as such is the worst way to deal with the matter. Any response should start from clearly recognizing the secret agreement.
Q: When U.S. warships enter Japanese ports, Japanese people have no way to know about whether they carry nuclear weapons or not. Is that right?
Shii: Yes. Based on the recognition that the “Record of Discussion” was one of the official documents composing the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the U.S. government regards that under the treaty, U.S. warships carrying nuclear weapons are permitted to enter Japanese ports without prior consultation. Japanese people, however, have not been informed of this arrangement.
Foreign Minister Okada at a news conference denied that the bringing-in of U.S. nuclear weapons to Japan will ever again take place by saying, “Since 1991, the U.S. government has stopped loading nuclear weapons onto U.S. warships.” However the U.S. government still maintains the policy to load tomahawk land attack cruise missiles onto nuclear-powered attack submarines at anytime if necessary, though it eliminated nuclear weapons from its surface military vessels. In addition, the U.S. has announced that nuclear weapons will be redeployed whenever it declares an emergency. If the Japanese government refuses to abolish the secret nuclear pacts, Japanese people will never be notified of any nuclear-armed U.S. warships’ entry.
After 50 years of deceit concerning an issue seriously affecting the security of the country and the safety of the people, the Japanese government has finally admitted to the existence of the “Record of Discussion.” However, it still refuses to recognize the document as a secret agreement. The report argues that there was no secret agreement because the interpretation of the document differed between the two governments, and the present government intends to maintain the system allowing the U.S. to bring nuclear weapons freely into Japan.
Q: Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano Hirofumi said that this is an accomplishment due to the change of government. Do you mean to say that it isn’t an accomplishment?
Shii: By no means it is an accomplishment. Of course it is a change in the sense that the government admitted the existence of the “Record of Discussion.” Since JCP Chair Fuwa Tetsuzo raised the issue in the Diet ten years ago, past governments have persisted in denying any knowledge of the existence of the “Record of Discussion”. Such an attitude of denial no longer is possible.
However, as the government admits to the existence of the “Record of Discussion”, it should recognize it as a secret agreement and abrogate it. This is the surest way to guarantee adherence to the “Three Non-nuclear Principles”.
Q: What is behind this government attempt to come up with such a conclusion?
Shii: In a word, the DPJ is unwilling to speak up against the United States in regard to the secret pacts. Once it admits that the “Record of Discussion” was secret deal, the government will have no other choice than to request the U.S. administration to abandon the deal in order to show the public that the government is adhering to Japan’s “Three Non-nuclear Principles.”
However, as long as the DPJ claims that there has not been any secret arrangement on the introduction of U.S. nuclear weapons into Japan, it will not have to say anything to the United States and Japan can continue giving tacit approval as successive governments did. Based on this premise, the report was made. This was the conclusion even before the report was to be written.
It was fine that the government ordered the “expert panel” as the first step to look into the Japan-U.S. secret agreement. Now that the panel report has been released, the government should thoroughly examine the findings and state an opinion by the government itself, not just that of the “expert panel”. It is irresponsible for the government to leave everything to the panel. This is a matter concerning the security of the Japanese people.
Q: What do you think of the successive Japanese governments that have denied taken this issue?
Shii: As many U.S. documents indicate, “full mutual understanding” was made between the two governments regarding the interpretation of the “Record of Discussion” after the 1963 discussion between U.S. Ambassador Edwin O. Reischauer and Foreign Minister Ohira Masayoshi. However, successive governments denied the existence of the secret agreement. This is unforgivable.
Since the new government admits to the existence of the “Record of Discussion”, it should recognize it as a secret pact on nuclear arms entry and abrogate it.
- Akahata, March 11, 2010