By Yuka Hayashi, Of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

TOKYO -(Dow Jones)- The Japanese government’s probe into a confidential post- war agreements with the U.S. not only confirmed the existence of a secret deposit that Japan kept with the Federal Reserve for nearly three decades, but also uncovered Tokyo’s lax management of information related to its foreign reserves.

Japanese Finance Minister Naoto Kan said Friday the ministry’s recent investigation into a 1969 bilateral accord confirmed that the financial settlement Japan made with the U.S. to end its occupation of Okinawa was larger and more complex than previously acknowledged and included a secret non-interest deposit the government and the Bank of Japan kept at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The deposit totaled $103 million during much of its life before the two nations agreed to lower it to an unsubstantial sum of $3 million in 1999. The deposit was counted as part of Japan’s official foreign reserves and consisted of dollars the Japanese government received from the Okinawans in exchange for yen in 1972 when the U.S. ended its post-war occupation of the southern Japanese island. The non-interest deposit amounted to a de-facto financial payment, as the U.S. was free to manage the money to generate returns. U.S. embassy press officers couldn’t be reached for comment.

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