A purported secret pact between Washington and Tokyo that allowed US military vessels carrying nuclear weapons to enter Japanese territory is still valid as long as the Asian country is protected under the US nuclear umbrella, a former high-ranking Japanese government official said.
"It is natural that there is (still) an arrangement (to allow US military vessels armed with nuclear weapons to pass or stop over in Japanese territory) since Japan is under the nuclear umbrella," the official, who was once involved in crafting foreign policy at the PMO, said on condition of anonymity.
The secret pact "has not been killed," he said, indicating that a document recording diplomatic exchanges, which includes the secret pact, is still effective.
His comments confirmed that past administrations, weighing the fact that Japan is under the nuclear umbrella, made policy decisions to give tacit approval of the passage and stopover of nuclear-armed US military vessels and airplanes.
The Japanese government has consistently denied the existence of the covert pact and said that US forces have not taken nuclear arms into Japanese territory and that no prior consultations on taking nuclear arms into Japanese territory have been held, as stipulated in the bilateral security treaty.
Japan has three non-nuclear principles of not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear weapons on its territory.