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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 11:32 12/22/2008
News Review #477: December 22, 2008

Japan in '65 Sought US Nuclear Shield Versus China

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

Japan in '65 Sought US Nuclear Shield Versus China
AP (12/22/2008):


It is a kind of sensational revelation from the Japanese viewpoint, even though it happened more than 40 year ago. It has just been learned, as reported in the AP news linked above, that in 1965 Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato at that time asked then US-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to protect Japan from possible Chinese attacks by using even nuclear weapons, if necessary, which should imply that such weapons could be brought into Japan's territory in case of war. This appears to contradict Mr. Sato's own action to introduce the "Three Non-nuclear Principles" into Japan a few years later. Given all these facts now, it may become doubtful if Mr. Sato was really entitled to the Nobel peace prize that he won in 1974.

How could this apparent contradiction be resolved? One interpretation is that the non-nuclear resolution should mean that Japan will now own or make nuclear weapons, nor permit them into Japan's territory but its surrounding sea areas, thereby allowing US submarines with nuclear weapons in Japanese seaports without prior consultations. Since this is a matter of "secret agreement" between Japan and the US, the Japanese government would not admit that such an agreement ever existed. Therefore, this news may be considered sensational, as it could have some significant consequences on Japan's politics and diplomacy even today.

In any event, it is better late than never that the Japanese government should officially admit such an agreement was made, and more importantly the interpretation of the Three Non-nuclear Principles be modified so as to formally allow nuclear submarines into at least some seaports in Japanese territory for Japan's own national security, not for the sake of US military interests. If that is done, then Mr. Eisaku Sato's award of the Nobel peace prize would be reassured after all.

This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):

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