【PART 3】 The Mystery of the Security Treaty Village (1): The Showa Emperor and the Constitution of Japan


【3】 Two kinds of secret agreements


The next one is an issue of secret agreement documents.

As I mentioned earlier, official U.S. Government documents have disclosed shocking facts, such as the Department of State’s secretly approaching the Supreme Court in Japan, or the USFJ’s rights to the use of bases remaining unchanged under the “Secret Agreement of Base Rights” provision of the Revised Security Treaty. In these cases, a normal nation would thoroughly investigate whether the secret agreements were indeed inevitable, whether the negotiator had considered other options, and whether the secret agreements did, in fact, harm national interests as a result. These points should have been investigated in detail by a third-party committee.

However, in Japan, barely any investigation was conducted. Even the inquiry by the so-called “specialist committee,” led by government-patronized scholars, concluded illogically–without any evidence–that “there is a document of agreement but it did not affect the actual situation.” How has such a situation come about?

Here is the simplest example of it. As I mentioned in PART 1, the Hatoyama administration (Democratic Party) was established in September 2009, declaring its intention of reconsidering fundamentally the slavish obedience to the U.S. that had continued for half a century. One of the administration’s promises was to investigate the secret agreements of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and to disclose the official Japanese documents related to it.

One of the secret agreements to be subject to investigation was the Secret Nuclear Pact (1960). Under this agreement, and without informing the Japanese at all, nuclear-armed ships and aircraft of the U.S. Forces were allowed unlimited stopovers in Japan.

On March 9, 1961, however, the investigation was terminated, six months after it had begun. The report by the “specialist committee” delegated by MOFA had concluded that there had been no “secret agreement”–in the strict sense–at all (“Report on the specialist committee concerning the so-called ‘secret agreement’ problem”). But how did the committee reach this conclusion, when the U.S. had disclosed its official documents informing us all that there was indeed a secret agreement?

The answer lay in the strange logic developed by Shinichi Kitaoka, the head of the “specialist committee” and a professor at the University of Tokyo at that time. Kitaoka’s reasoning has been discussed in detail by Shoji Niihara in his book, Verification: the Collapse of a Constitutional State.

At the beginning of the 108-page report, Kitaoka abruptly stipulates two definitions of a secret agreement: “narrow-sensed secret agreement” and “broad-sensed secret agreement.” Kitaoka defines typical examples of “narrow-sensed secret agreements” as secret agreements between the great powers in the age of imperialism before the end of WW2, represented by the Russo-Japanese Agreement (1907), the secret protocol associated with the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact (August 1939), and the secret agreement between the U.S., Britain, and the Soviet Union at the Yalta Conference (1945). He wrote that “secret agreements should indicate such agreements in a strict sense,” which is the conclusion of the report. He determined, without justification, that all other secret agreements except for such “strict-sensed” agreements are “broad-sensed secret agreements”–that is, not secret agreements at all…in a strict sense.

Of course, such a definition only works for Kitaoka. It doesn’t exist in any other part of the world. Niihara maintains that Kitaoka’s strange definition basically declared an unwillingness from the beginning to ascertain thoroughly the secret agreement with the U.S. (which the U.S. imposed on individual countries as part of its post-WW2 strategy). I completely agree. Even though the targets of this investigation were secret agreements with the U.S. after WW2, he expanded the coverage to secret agreements before WW2, claiming that post-war secret agreements between the U.S. were not secret agreements in a strict sense.

This is the second example of “three in the morning, four in the evening.”