Edwin O Reischauer, who was U.S. ambassador to Japan in the early sixties, has now told Japanese reporters that ever since then U.S. ships have been allowed to enter ports in Japan freely, while carrying nuclear weapons.
1961 file footage of Reischauer arriving in Japan, greeted; 1981, Reischauer speaking at press conference; U.S. aircraft carrier; newspaper headlines reporting Reischauer's allegations and saying Sonada denies it; Miyazawa at press conference; file footage of McArthur in Tokyo; 7th Fleet in Yokosuka harbour; Suzuki speaking in parliament; Reischauer speaking; Jim Upshaw (NBC) speaking.
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Background: Edwin O Reischauer, who was U.S. ambassador to Japan in the early sixties, has now told Japanese reporters that ever since then U.S. ships have been allowed to enter ports in Japan freely, while carrying nuclear weapons. The remarks by Reischauer landed with explosive impact on nuclear-sensitive Japan, and especially on its government, which is insisting that under the U.S./Japan security treaty the United States must consult Tokyo before bringing nuclear materials into Japanese territory. Officials here now are investigating just what was said when the treaty was renewed in 1960.
According to Reischauer, some U.S. official, possibly his predecessor as ambassador Douglas MacArthur II, made a verbal deal with the Japanese exempting ships carrying nuclear weapons from the requirement for prior consultation.
The Seventh Fleet is based at Yokosuka, and the Japanese press quotes Navy sources as saying a U.S. cruiser bearing missiles with nuclear warheads did put in at Yokosuka 2 years ago. Such visits have long been rumoured, but the issue is too delicate for most politicians to raise. Now that Reischauer has raised it puts new pressure on prime minister Suzuki, whose government was torn three days ago by the resignation of its foreign minister. The opposition may charge Suzuki with continuing a 20-year nuclear cover-up. Reischauer says he doesn't understand the commotion his comments have caused.