Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura says nuclear agreement will enhance the NPT

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

In the wake of the Japanese government’s decision not to oppose the U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, which will enable the United States to export nuclear power generation equipment and uranium to India, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura, in a press conference held on August 19, expressed a positive view of the agreement, suggesting that the pact will lead to a strengthening of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime.

Mr. Machimura acknowledged that opposition to this stance sees the agreement as running counter to global nuclear disarmament. But he pointed out that some of the nuclear facilities in India will now begin accepting inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and this will have a constructive impact on the NPT regime. He stressed, too, the importance of promoting nuclear energy in India, a developing country, to cut CO2 emissions in order to fight global warming. “The government will comprehensively examine all aspects of this issue and act accordingly,” Mr. Machimura pledged.

India is not a signatory to the NPT, the aims of which are to reduce nuclear weapons and promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy. For the U.S.-India agreement to take effect, the Nuclear Supplies Group (NSG) must revise its guidelines, which currently ban extending nuclear cooperation to non-member countries even for peaceful purposes. The Japanese government has decided to sanction the agreement in the extraordinary general meeting of the NSG scheduled to start on August 21 in Vienna, Austria.

(Originally published on August 20, 2008)

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