JCP demands that government break away from U.S. nuclear umbrella to become genuinely nuclear-free

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo issued a statement entitled “The government must stop opposing U.S. destruction of nuclear-capable cruise missiles and break away from the U.S. nuclear umbrella to declare itself nuclear-free in name and reality.” The following is the text of the statement released at a news conference on August 9 in Nagasaki.

(1) With U.S. President Obama’s speech calling for a “world without nuclear weapons,” an historic change is beginning to take place toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.

However, the Japanese government of the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties is reluctant to take the position of calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. It instead keeps asking the United States to provide Japan with the nuclear umbrella as nuclear deterrent.

The “nuclear deterrent” under the nuclear umbrella is called “extended nuclear deterrent”. It is a way of defense by threatening to use nuclear weapons in the event of an emergency. It is a logic based on the concept that nuclear weapons can be used. Japan is the only country to have experienced a barbarous and inhuman nuclear attack with nuclear weapons. How shameless it is for the Japanese government to cling to the logic that nuclear weapons can be used and that the threat of the use of such weapons works!

(2) It is particularly serious that the Japanese government, which insists on its dependence on the “nuclear umbrella”, has used diplomatic talks to express its opposition to reducing or eliminating nuclear weapons deployed by the United States.

As clear from a U.S. Congressional Commission report and senior U.S. government officials’ remarks, Japanese government officials have specifically urged the U.S. side not to eliminate Tomahawk nuclear cruise missiles which have been carried on attack submarines. I must point out that the move goes against the U.S. Obama administration’s policy change toward eliminating nuclear weapons.

In early May, the U.S. Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States published the final report to conclude its almost one-year investigation and research commissioned by the Congress.

The final report entitled America’s Strategic Posture states: “One particularly important ally has argued to the Commission privately that the credibility of the U.S. extended deterrent depends on its specific capabilities to hold a wide variety of targets at risk, and to deploy forces in a way that is either visible or stealthy, as circumstances may demand.”

It also pointed out, “In Asia, extended deterrence relies heavily on the deployment of nuclear cruise missiles on some Los Angeles class attack submarines -- the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile /Nuclear (TLAM/N).”

“In our work as a commission it has become clear to us that some U.S. allies in Asia would be very concerned by TLAM/N retirement,” the report added.

The report has a list of the names of people whom the Commission consulted. At the top of 26 foreign officials are four Japanese officials, including Takeo Akiba?Minister, Head of Political Section, Embassy of Japan (2009) and Masafumi Ishii?Minister, Head of Political Section, Embassy of Japan (2008).

In late July, Kyodo News reported that a U.S. government official suggested that Tomahawk nuclear cruise missiles aboard attack submarines may not be removed for some time due to the opinions of Japan and other U.S. allies. The Kyodo article also reported that a Japanese government official said that Japan is asking the U.S. Congressional Commission on Strategic Posture not to unilaterally reduce or decommission Tomahawk and other tactical nuclear weapons and to firmly maintain tactical nuclear forces.

“W80” nuclear warheads for Tomahawk missiles are scheduled to begin retiring in 2013. It is unconscionable for the government of atom-bombed Japan to urge the United States not to reduce or remove Tomahawk nuclear cruise missiles from nuclear-powered attack submarines.

(3) The issue poses serious questions in regard to the issue of a secret agreement with the United States on the handling of nuclear weapons, the issue that came under public criticism recently following a revelation by four former vice foreign ministers.

The United States decommissioned nuclear weapons from its warships, but it continues the posture of loading attack nuclear-powered submarines with Tomahawk nuclear cruise missiles any time when necessary. It has also declared that nuclear weapons should be redeployed in the event of an emergency. To prepare for an emergency, the United States firmly maintains its principle that it neither denies nor confirms the deployment of nuclear weapons at a specific locality.

Declassified U.S. documents reveal that secret agreements are concluded between Japan and the U.S. for nuclear weapons to be deployed in an emergency. This means that nuclear weapons are being brought into Japan and deployed without the government and the people knowing it. The secret mechanism covers the whole Japanese archipelago. The secret agreement over nuclear weapons is not a thing of the past. It is a serious problem affecting the people at present.

In fact, many nuclear-powered attack submarines capable of nuclear attacks enter Japanese ports many times. Nuclear-powered attack submarines deployed in the Pacific include ten or more submarines with nuclear attack capability: the Bremerton, the La Jolla, the Portsmouth, the San Francisco, the Houston, the Buffalo, the Salt Lake City, the Olympia, the Honolulu, and the Key West. All of them have called at Japan’s ports.

The Japanese government opposition to reducing or decommissioning Tomahawk nuclear missiles on attack nuclear submarines means that the Japanese government willingly asks the secret bringing in of nuclear weapons based on secret agreements to be continued in the future.

(4) Today, as we observe the 64th anniversary marking the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, the Japanese Communist Party solemnly demands:

- that the government make public the secret nuclear agreement with the United States, abrogate it, and implement the Three Non-Nuclear Principles to not manufacture, possess or allow nuclear weapons to be brought in;

- that Japan break away from the U.S. “nuclear umbrella” and declare itself “nuclear-free” in both name and reality;

- that the government, as the first step, stop obstructing the Obama administration’s policy change by dropping its shameless request that the United States maintain Tomahawk nuclear cruise missiles.

Only when Japan discloses and abandons its secret nuclear agreement with the United States, breaks away from the U.S. nuclear umbrella, and turn Japan into a literally nuclear-free country, will Japan be able to take the initiative, as the only atomic-bombed country, toward achieving a “world without nuclear weapons”, a task for humanity as a whole.

We announce this set of requests on this anniversary so that Nagasaki continues to be the last atomic-bombed city.

--Akahata, August 10, 2009

The Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party
4-26-7 Sendagaya,Shibuya-ku,Tokyo 151-8586