Japanese parliamentarians make emergency appeal regarding U.S.-India nuclear pact

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

A non-partisan group of parliamentarians, who are against the nuclear cooperation agreement made between the U.S. and India, met in the Diet building in Tokyo on September 4. They adopted an emergency appeal and submitted it to the Foreign Ministry, demanding that the Japanese government firmly oppose the agreement that allows the U.S. to supply uranium fuel and nuclear reactor technology to India, a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In order to take effect, the U.S.-India agreement needs the approval of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), composed of 45 nations including Japan. Ahead of the NSG’s meeting on September 4 and 5, four lawmakers of different parties--lower house members Minoru Terada (LDP), Yoshiaki Takaki (JDP), and Nobuto Hosaka (SDP), with upper house member Akiko Kamei (PNP)--initiated the action within the parliament and called for the gathering on September 4.

Then, on that day, four lawmakers, including Mr. Terada, along with members of peace and anti-nuclear organizations, adopted the emergency appeal. Ikuo Kamei (PNP) commented, “As a nation that has experienced atomic bombings, Japan must take a strong stance.”

The emergency appeal criticizes the U.S.-India agreement, contending, “As the only A-bombed nation and a nation with a policy of promoting and strengthening the NPT regime as a cornerstone of its diplomacy, Japan must not neglect to act in this situation.” The appeal argues that the agreement entails a serious risk since the nuclear materials and technology provided to India could be diverted to military use.

After the meeting at the Diet, Minoru Terada and seven representatives, from the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, and the Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs, visited the Foreign Ministry and met Deputy Vice-Minister Keiichi Hayashi. At this time they submitted the emergency appeal as well as a petition addressed to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda from 17 organizations including the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation.

Mr. Hayashi said that the emergency appeal and the petition will be delivered to Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura and to the Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna, which serves as a point of contact for the NSG.

(Originally published on September 5, 2008)

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