U.S. Official in 1969 Denied Nukes in Post-Handover Okinawa

Politics

Tokyo, Dec. 25 (Jiji Press)--A then high-level U.S. official said in December 1969 that nuclear weapons would not be brought into Okinawa following the island's return to Japan from U.S. control, it was learned Wednesday.

The comments, thought to be made by Morton Halperin, who was in charge of Okinawa handover negotiations under National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger in the administration of U.S. President Richard Nixon, were revealed in diplomatic records made public on Wednesday. Halperin is believed to have made the assurances to Bunroku Yoshino, Japanese ambassador to the United States at the time, on Dec. 9 that year.

The assertion came after an agreement on Okinawan reversion between Nixon and Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato in talks held the previous month, in which the two leaders are said to have secretly agreed to allow nuclear weapons back into Okinawa under special circumstances.

According to the records, the person thought to be Halperin said that the United States would not go through the trouble of bringing nuclear weapons into Okinawa and then launching the weapons in the event of an emergency necessitating a nuclear attack.

Instead, he said, B-52 strategic bombers loaded with nuclear weapons would fly directly to target sites from Guam and other U.S. territories, or UGM-27 Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads would be used.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press