A U.S. hydrogen bomb was crushed by sea pressure when it fell into the Pacific Ocean off Japan 24 years ago and its nuclear material has dissolved harmlessly on the sea floor, the United States has told Japan.
The material poses no environmental hazard, the U.S. Defense Department said in a report given to the Japanese Embassy in Washington on Friday.A copy was given to The Associated Press today after Cabinet members said Japan would check for possible environmental dangers.
The Foreign Ministry later formed a team to evaluate the U.S. report and decide whether more studies are needed. The experts come from the Defense Agency, the coast guard, the Environmental Agency and the fisheries authority.
The only country ever attacked with nuclear weapons, Japan is sensitive to the nuclear issue. Since the 1965 accident was disclosed last week, several demonstrations have been held and opposition members of Parliament have pressed the government to get a full explanation from Washington.
Japan also still was asking whether the aircraft carrier Ticonderoga had been sailing to a Japanese port when one of its A-4 Skyhawks accidentally fell into the sea while carrying the one-megaton bomb.
This country bans nuclear weapons from its territory but is thought to look the other way in the case of port calls by U.S. vessels likely to be carrying nuclear bombs.