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U.S. and Japan To Improve Their Anti-Submarine Capability

June 29, 1987

TOKYO (AP) _ U.S. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger said today Japan and the United States have agreed to work together to increase the capability of their navies to detect and destroy enemy submarines.

He said such cooperation is necessary because a Japanese firm sold stragetic machinery to the Soviets allowing them to build submarines with quiet propellers that are difficult to detect with underwater listening devices.

Weinberger also said he was ″very encouraged″ when Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone told him Japan views the sale seriously and has taken ″very firm and positive steps″ to ensure a similar incident does not happen again.

Weinberger, who spoke at a news conference after meeting with Nakasone, refused to say how Japan and the United States would increase their anti- submarine cabability or whether they worked together in such a way before.

Weinberger also met today with Foreign Minister Tadashi Kuranari and Defense Agency Director General Yuko Kurihara and urged them to choose a U.S.-made jet fighter as Japan’s advanced fighter plane.

Toshiba Machine, a subsidiary of the electronics giant Toshiba Corp., is accused of selling sophisticated milling machinery capable of manufacturing super-quiet submarine propellers to the Soviet Union.

The sales allegedly occurred between 1982 and 1984 in violation of Japanese laws and rules of the Coordinating Committee for Export Control, which regulates exports to communist nations.

Two Toshiba Machine executives have been arrested and the firm has been banned from exporting any products to communist countries for one year. Toshiba Machine and two other companies also have lost the right to sponsor entry visas for individuals from the Soviet Union and eastern Europe.

Referring to the Soviet sale, Weinberger said: ″The damage done to our mutual security was of course significant. There’s no question that the ability for the Soviets to run their submarines in a much quieter fashion and therefore make them more difficult to detect has been attained ...

″We will simply have to try to make sure that in working together with our mutual talents and capabilities and energies, we keep a lead over the Soviets in anti-submarine warfare ... It’s important to bear in mind that ... it’s necessary to do additional work now.″

He said the United States and Japan had ″agreed to strengthen, improve and maintain the anti-submarine capabilities which we had, which is extremely important to maintain under the treaty of mutual cooperation and security.″

He called the strengthening of such capabilities ″a matter of vital importance to the security of Japan, obviously, and of vital importance to the security of the United States and indeed of the free world.″

The United States is pushing Japan to select the F-15, F-16 or F-18 fighter, or jointly develop a jet with the United States, but the Japanese are considering developing a new fighter of their own.

Weinberger said he told Japanese officials the United States supports their plan to increase Japanese air defense capability and argued that an American aircraft would be the best way to achieve that goal.

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