Business competition given more importance: Hiroshima Mayor criticizes negotiations on nuclear energy agreement between Japan and India

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui criticized the Japanese government during a press conference on June 4. Referring to the fact that the national government has agreed to return to negotiations on a nuclear energy agreement with India, Mr. Matsui stated, “The national government is giving priority to short-term business competition over the long-term vision of establishing peace for all humankind.” India is a nuclear-armed state and not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Mr. Matsui emphasized that Hiroshima has been calling for a long-term vision, rising above individual interests. “I am disappointed that our message has not been accepted.” He clearly expressed his intention to continue urging the government not to resume negotiations.

Referring to Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida’s comment that the agreement will be an opportunity to involve India substantively in the NPT regime, Mr. Matsui said, “There is a high possibility that the agreement will have an adverse effect.” He reiterated his belief that the agreement will undermine the NPT regime.

On hearing of the agreement between the governments of the two nations to resume negotiations, Mayor Matsui on May 24 sent letters to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Kishida, appealing to them to discontinue negotiations. Mr. Abe agreed to restart talks on the nuclear agreement when he met with India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on May 29 during the prime minister’s visit to Japan.

(Originally published on June 5, 2013)