Takichi Nishiyama, Ex-Reporter Known for Secret Pact Incident, Dies

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Takichi Nishiyama

TOKYO (Jiji Press)—Takichi Nishiyama, a former Japanese newspaper reporter known for being arrested on suspicion of illegally obtaining copies of confidential diplomatic cables on a secret Japan-U.S. agreement, died of heart failure at a nursing care facility in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, southwestern Japan, Friday. He was 91.

While working for the Mainichi Shimbun daily, Nishiyama in 1971 obtained the copies from a Japanese Foreign Ministry official. In April 1972, Nishiyama and the ministry official were arrested on suspicion of violating the national public service law.

Nishiyama was confirmed guilty by the Supreme Court in 1978.

The diplomatic cables suggested that the Japanese government secretly promised to bear $4 million of costs to restore U.S. military sites in Okinawa Prefecture to their original condition, before Tokyo and Washington signed a pact on the return of Okinawa to Japan from U.S. occupation.

After official documents that supported the existence of the secret pact were discovered in the United States, Nishiyama in 2005 filed a lawsuit demanding an apology and compensation from the Japanese government, claiming his indictment was illegal. He lost the suit in 2008.

In 2009, Nishiyama filed another lawsuit demanding the Japanese government disclose documents confirming the existence of the secret pact and pay compensation. He finally lost the case in 2014.

Popular Japanese author Toyoko Yamasaki’s novel “Unmei no Hito” is based on Nishiyama’s story.

Recalling the incident in an interview with Jiji Press in March last year, or about 50 years after the arrest, Nishiyama said: “I’m the victim but also the victor. The loser was the state.”