Ex-vice foreign minister has seen Japan-U.S. secret pact minutes

A former vice foreign minister recently said he has seen the 1960 minutes stating a secret Japan-U.S. pact under which Tokyo allows stopovers of U.S. military vessels or aircraft carrying nuclear weapons.

''I saw them. I have memories that we looked into them after something happened,'' the former top ministry official who served in key ministry posts in the 1980s and 1990s has told Kyodo News on condition of anonymity.

The official said he does not remember what exactly happened at that time.

The Jan. 6, 1960, minutes signed by then Japanese Foreign Minister Aiichiro Fujiyama and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Douglas MacArthur II have not been found in the Foreign Ministry's probe aiming at confirming the existing of the pact, according to a source close to the ministry.

The probe was launched in September under orders of Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada.

There is unconfirmed information that documents pertaining to the pact were discarded at the time a law on the disclosure of administrative information was enforced in April 2001.

Declassified U.S. documents say the minutes in question are kept by the U.S. government side.

The United States is required to consult with Tokyo before bringing nuclear weapons into Japan under the 1960 bilateral security treaty.

No such consultations have been made so far.

(Distributed by Kyodo News on Nov. 22, 2009)