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‘Secret deal’ revealed on Okinawa Reversion

Date Posted: 2006-03-03

There was more to the Okinawa reversion than meets the eye.

For more than 30 years, a series of secret payments from Japan to Washington was kept just that--Secret. Now, a study of U.S. government documents declassified five years ago have been studied by a university professor and a Japanese newspaper. Their findings show there were under-the-table payments totaling $4 million to clean up lands being returned to Japanese control.

The secret deals were brokered by Foreign Minister Yohei Kono. Documents showing the deal do exist, say several sources. The Asahi Shimbun and University of the Ryukyus professor Masaaki Gabe spearheaded the investigation.

The then-director general of the Foreign Ministry’s American Affairs Bureau, says it is true. Bunroku Yoshino told the newspaper he’d been asked to by Kono to deny the payments ever took place.

The 87-year-old former diplomat said the payments were used to cover costs of cleaning up lands to their original conditions before being returned. The U.S. was to have covered those costs, he says, but refused.

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