NBC Weapons: December 20, 1999


The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, in the new issue released on 13 Dec, said that the US had stored nuclear weapons in Japan during the Cold War far beyond anything previously admitted. According to the Bulletin, weapons were stored on both Chichi Jima and Iwo Jima during the 50s, along with the large and varied nuclear arsenal on Okinawa which remained until 1972. The Bulletin also said that nuclear weapons without their fissionable cores were stored at Misawa and Itazuki airbases on the mainland of Japan itself. The US Navy maintained nuclear weapons on ships stationed in the ports of Sasebo and Yokosuka. The US agreed in the 1951 security treaty with Japan (that ended the occupation) not to store nuclear weapons on Japanese territory. With a wink and a grin by Tokyo, it was tacitly agreed that this did not apply to weapons on territory still occupied by the US or on ships that were "a legal inch" from Japanese docks, and that weapons without their nuclear cores would not be considered nuclear weapons. The US reportedly considered the nuclear stockpiles on Chichi Jim and Iwo Jima to be "nuclear fall back positions" that would be used to prosecute a nuclear war if Russian troops conquered Japan. The weapons were removed from Iwo Jima in 1959 and from Chichi Jim in 1965. --Stephen V Cole


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