NGO Hits Japan-India Nuclear Negotiations

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tokyo -- The Citizens' Nuclear Information Center (CNIC), a Tokyo-based NGO, is reacting sharply to the initiation of negotiations between Tokyo and New Delhi in regard to nuclear industry cooperation.

On June 29, the CNIC sent a letter of protest to Prime Minister Naoto Kan and several other ministers arguing that the Japanese government is now "on the verge of abandoning" its commitment to the use of nuclear power for strictly peaceful purposes.

"If Japan concludes a nuclear cooperation agreement with India on the grounds that other countries - including the United States, Russia, and France - have done so, or because it is in Japan's commercial interest to do so, it will become impossible to prevent nuclear proliferation. We will be doomed to repeat the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki," the authors wrote.

The letter also points out, "It is impossible to completely separate military and civilian workers, education, technology, and equipment within a single country."

In relation to this issue, PanOrient News interviewed Philip White, the international liaison officer of the CNIC, at a location in the suburbs of Tokyo.

White points out that the entire nuclear nonproliferation regime is based on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). This treaty stipulates that all nations, other than the five permanent members of the UNSC, are provided the right to use nuclear energy only on the strict condition that they abandon all efforts to build nuclear weapons.

India, however, is one of only three nations that never signed the NPT, and it has, in fact, developed an arsenal of nuclear weapons outside of the international legal framework.

White contends that the Nuclear Suppliers Group approved cooperation with India under "massive arm-twisting" from the Bush administration and some other powers, and that many countries agreed to the measure - or abstained on the vote - only so as to avoid a head-on collision with US power.

White believes that Tokyo, with its special history, should not roll over, even if some people would regard Japan's resistance as merely symbolic.

"I think that symbolism is extremely important," says White. "Japan's nuclear industry is actually quite strategically placed within the global nuclear industry. Japan has massive bargaining power."

"But has it got the courage and commitment to use it?"

PanOrient News

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