Appeal is made to cancel Japan-India nuclear deal

by Sakiko Masuda and Noritaka Araki, Staff Writers

On July 2, Tadatoshi Akiba, mayor of Hiroshima, and Masanobu Chita, deputy mayor of Nagasaki, handed a formal request to Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) which calls for the cancellation of a nuclear energy deal between Japan and India.

The request was jointly signed by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and argues that the deal with India, a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), is detrimental to the international momentum toward nuclear abolition and brushes aside the wishes of the A-bombed cities. The request goes on to call on the government to respect the sentiments of citizens, including the A-bomb survivors. It says that the stance of the Japanese government, in pursuing this nuclear deal with India while declaring to the world its commitment to spearheading a campaign for nuclear abolition, is incomprehensible to the people of the A-bombed cities.

At a regular news conference on the same day, Mr. Okada touched on the meeting with Mayor Akiba and Deputy Mayor Chita, saying, "I repeated what I have mentioned: It is very unlikely that India will give up its nuclear weapons and join the NPT regime. Under the circumstances, it is somewhat more effective to place India within a certain framework, if a loose framework. I was forced to make a tough decision while weighing a variety of factors, including global warming."

(Originally published on July 3, 2010)

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