Voices raised over Japan condoning the U.S.-India Nuclear Agreement

by Hiromasa Nagata and Hiromi Morita, Staff Writers

The Japanese government has indicated that they will condone the U.S. move to provide India with nuclear energy technology and support based on the U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. The decision, revealed on August 18, triggered anger and concern from A-bomb survivors and peace organizations in Hiroshima, as this agreement could shake the very foundation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime.

Sunao Tsuboi, chairman of one faction of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations, voiced his opposition by pointing out that India is not a member of the NPT and stated, “It is completely unacceptable that Japan, the A-bombed nation, condones this move, for the technology could be used for military objectives. Japan’s position undermines its ability to appeal for nuclear disarmament.”

Kazushi Kaneko, chairman of another faction of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations, expressed his displeasure by remarking, “Japan abides by three non-nuclear principles in its national policy and yet it obeys whatever the U.S. wants. As the only country with full knowledge of the devastation wrought by nuclear weapons, Japan should naturally stress to the U.S. that its action is wrong. More than anger, I feel saddened by this decision.”

“The appeals made by A-bomb survivors and peace organizations were flatly ignored,” Haruko Katayama, co-chairperson of the Hiroshima Congress Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, said sharply. “Japan should stand up and oppose this move.”

Makoto Matsumoto, secretary general of the Hiroshima Council Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, highlighted the threat to the NPT regime, declaring that “this move is tantamount to undermining the NPT.”

A representative of the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, which had urged the Japanese government to oppose the U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, also stressed the risk to the NPT scheme. Haruko Moritaki remarked, “If this agreement, which gives silent consent to nuclear weapons development, is permitted to move forward, the NPT regime will become watered down.” She added, revealing her concern, “Though the Japanese government only seems to take the Japan-U.S. relationship into account, this agreement involving India could deepen its conflict with Pakistan.”

(Originally published on August 19, 2008)

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