Iwakuni mayor seeks explanation of secret nuclear pact

by Yasuyoshi Hirota, Staff Writer

On December 10, Iwakuni Mayor Yoshihiko Fukuda shared his thoughts on the investigation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) that is aiming to shed light on the "secret pact" regarding nuclear weapons between the Japanese and U.S. governments. Mr. Fukuda stated that the Japanese government should, when the results are announced, provide an explanation of these findings to the local governments concerned as well as an explanation of the suspected entry of nuclear weapons into the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, about which allegations first surfaced in the 1970s and 1980s. He made this remark in answering a general inquiry at the city assembly.

At the Iwakuni Air Station, the stockpiling of nuclear weapons, the anchoring of ships carrying nuclear weapons, and the existence of a specialist unit have been successively pointed out, based on materials and testimonies from the U.S. side between 1971 and 1981. Previous administrations in Japan have consistently denied the allegations thus far.

However, after the recent change in administration, the MOFA investigation has already confirmed the existence of documents related to the secret nuclear pact. A panel of experts will submit a report to Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada as early as January.

Mayor Fukuda said he would keep an eye on the investigation, adding, "The government should shoulder its responsibility and offer an explanation to the local governments concerned. If no explanation is forthcoming, I will go to Tokyo and seek an explanation from government officials."

(Originally published on December 11, 2009)