Japan has verified the existence of a secret nuclear pact with the United States that allows US forces to bring nuclear weapons into the country.
Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said on Tuesday that a panel of experts confirmed the existence of the pact after examining thousands of documents over a period of months.
From the 1960s, Japan has allowed the United States to deploy nuclear weapons on the southern island of Okinawa, the panel said.
Japan’s previous governments had always denied the existence of such secret agreements.
However, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s government, which came to power six months ago, has adopted less US-friendly policies.
Yet Hatoyama says he believes the nuclear deterrence is necessary to maintain regional security.
In its calls for total nuclear disarmament, Japan has always emphasized its status as the only country to have been attacked with nuclear weapons.