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Cablegate: Mofa Dg Umemoto On Secret Agreement Investigation

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INFO RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL IMMEDIATE 8688
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STATE PLEASE PASS TO OSD JAPAN DESK FOR BASALLA
USFJ FOR J00, J01, J5

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/26/2019
TAGS: MARR PGOV PINR JA
SUBJECT: MOFA DG UMEMOTO ON SECRET AGREEMENT INVESTIGATION

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires James P. Zumwalt, reasons 1.4(b) and (
d).

1. (C) On November 27, Charge d,Affaires discussed MOFA,s
investigation of the so-called nuclear secret agreements and
its possible effects on U.S. nuclear deterrent policy with
MOFA North American Affairs Bureau Director General Umemoto.
Charge stressed that an important element of U.S. deterrence
strategy is to maintain ambiguity with regard to the presence
or absence of nuclear arms on U.S. Navy vessels. Adding that
the Ambassador is concerned about the direction that this
investigation could take, Charge emphasized that this
discussion was not simply a Japanese domestic issue but one
that could have implications for U.S. strategy in the broader
global context, and touches on the interests of several
neighboring Asian countries including Korea. He added that
the U.S. would be strongly opposed to providing any greater
degree of clarity on the presence or absence of nuclear
weapons on board our naval vessels.
2. (C) Umemoto concurred this is a thorny issue, calling it
perhaps ""more difficult than Futenma."" Noting that he had
not yet received instructions to approach the United States
formally with regard to statements on tactical nuclear
weapons on board U.S. vessels that called in Japanese ports,
Umemoto told Charge he was ""concerned"" that the current
political leadership did not understand the possible
implications of the ""secret agreement"" investigation, which
in Umemoto,s view, clearly had foreign policy ramifications.
He reacted positively to a suggestion by the Charge for more
in-depth briefings for the Minister on U.S. extended
deterrence policy and the broader context in which this issue
must be addressed.

3. (C) In the wake of the investigation,s findings, which
will likely be published in January, Umemoto said a new
formula must be found regarding port calls by U.S. vessels
that maintains ambiguity in the U.S. nuclear posture. One
possibility would be to reiterate statements made by earlier
administrations on the decision not to deploy tactical
nuclear weapons on certain classes of vessels. A second
approach might be for the U.S. to make a general statement
that, for the foreseeable future, the U.S. has no intention
of deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Asia. Umemoto said
it is important for the U.S. and Japan to continue to consult
informally about how to respond to possible calls for more
clarity in statements regarding nuclear weapons.
4. (C) Umemoto expressed confidence that the ""wise man
council"" established to review the internal MOFA document
investigation will act in a measured way and reach reasonable
conclusions. He stated that most of the members, including
Chairman Kitaoka, were well established, respected security
experts. However, the group has a very narrow mandate, and
will limit its opinion to the contents and implications of
the documents turned up during the investigation and
declassification policy. That mandate does not extend to
policy recommendations, for example regarding the revision of
Japan,s three non-nuclear principles. Umemoto also denied
media reports that FM Okada had at one point considered
suggesting revision of the three principles, adding that it
was discussed only in theory, and was deemed politically
impossible.
ZUMWALT

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