Okinawa Reversion and the “Secret Pacts”: New Evidence from South Korean Archives


This is a listing of older East-West Center events (newer listed first).  See Events to get the list of current or upcoming events.

When: Mar 25 2013 - 12:00pm until Mar 25 2013 - 1:30pm
Where: East-West Center in Washington: 1819 L St. NW, Suite 600. Washington, DC. 22202

Okinawa Reversion and the “Secret Pacts”: New Evidence from South Korean Archives

An Asia-Pacific Security Seminar Featuring:

Dr. Somei Kobayashi

2012 Japan Studies Visiting Fellow, East-West Center in Washington International Scholar, Department of Philosophy, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, South Korea

Dr. Somei Kobayashi, 2012 Japan Studies Visiting Fellow and professor at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea, presented some of his findings from his archival research in Korea. The U.S. returned Okinawa to Japan in 1972, after 27 years of occupation. Since Okinawa’s reversion, the existence of so-called “secret pacts” negotiated between Japan and the US concerning not only national security but also economic issues have been widely discussed. After the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) was elected in 2009, the Japanese government began to investigate the “secret pacts,” focusing on four potential tacit agreements concerning: the introduction of American nuclear weapons to Japan, the use of military bases in contingency planning toward the Korean peninsula, nuclear weapons in Okinawa, and the payment of restoration expenses. However, the investigation was deemed insufficient by some, as it ultimately limited its conclusions to whether or not the related policy outcomes of the negotiations were secret.

In his off-the-record presentation, 2012 Japan Studies Visiting Fellow, Dr. Somei Kobayashi took a new look at these “secret pacts,” drawing on new evidence gathered from South Korean archives.  He demonstrated that the Okinawa reversion was not only a U.S.-Japan bilateral issue, but also a multilateral issue involving the broader East Asia region. Among the documents he has found in his research for his forth-coming publication, Dr. Kobayashi found evidence of the Republic of Korea's concern for the US military bases to remain in Okinawa at the time of the revision. Through a study of documented diplomatic correspondence by Japanese and American diplomats with the ROK to address these concerns, the internal thinking of both sides on some of the "secret pact" issues comes to light.

Dr. Somei Kobayashi is a 2012 Japan Studies Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington, and an International Scholar at the Department of Philosophy, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea. He received Ph.D. in Social Sciences from Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Japan. He specialized in the Cold War history of East Asia with a special attention to media, propaganda and intelligence. He has written many articles concerning media, politics and histories of ROK and DPRK and the U.S. intelligence and psychological warfare in Cold War East Asia. He is currently working on two book projects on Okinawa Reversion and Koreans in the U.S. Occupied Japan.

Primary Contact Info:
Name: Grace Ruch
Phone: 202-327-9762