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Hatoyama calls into question covert military treaties with US

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Breaking with the 50-year policy of the Liberal Party, the new Japanese government controlled by the Democratic Party intends to rebalance its country’s relations with the United States.

Knowing that such a venture can only succeed with a strong popular support, prime minister Yukio Hatoyama has decided to disclose Japan’s subservient position vis-a-vis Washington.

During a press conference, he announced the creation of an investigation commission mandated to verify the existence of secret treaties linking Japan to Washington. The fifteen members of the commission will have to publish such documents, if they exist, as well as those elucidating the context in which they were signed. For this purpose, they are authorised to delve into all relevant archives, including those being held at the Japanese Embassy in Washington.

At least four secret treaties are believed to exist, dealing with:

- Japan’s logistical assistance to the United States in case of war against Korea;
- Stipulations ruling the lease and return of US military bases;
- The use of the Okinawa base by US nuclear forces;
- The transit through Japan of US nuclear arms.

It would appear that, in violation of the Constitution of Japan and without informing the population, these secret treaties enabled the Pentagon to use Japanese air and maritime space for the deployment of its strategic bombers and nuclear warhead submarine launchers.

The Commission is expected to examine more than 3,600 files and deliver its conclusions by the end of November.

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