Hiroshima and Nagasaki mayors seek to stop Japan-India nuclear agreement

by Kohei Okata, Staff Writer

On December 9, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui and Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue sent letters to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, urging them to cancel negotiations for a nuclear agreement that could lead to exporting nuclear power plant technology from Japan to India. The mayors demand that Mr. Abe and Mr. Kishida consider the sentiments of the A-bomb cities prior to the summit meeting scheduled for December 12 in India.

In their letters, the mayors express concern that India may take advantage of nuclear energy technology for military use, emphasizing that this could become an obstacle for advancing the abolition of nuclear arms since India has not joined the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), despite its status as a nuclear power. The letters also refer to the stance of the Japanese government as a non-nuclear nation that urges non-members of the NPT to join the treaty at an early date without conditions, voicing criticism that “these negotiations could contribute to a hollowing out of the NPT regime.”

An official at the City of Hiroshima’s office in Tokyo delivered the letters to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The City of Hiroshima also urged the Japanese government to halt negotiations on the nuclear agreement in July 2010 and May 2013.

On the same day, Nihon Hidankyo (the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations) and the Japan NGO Network for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, which are comprised of non-governmental organizations such as the Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, sent messages to the prime minister’s office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs via email and other means to express their opposition to concluding an agreement.

(Originally published on December 10, 2015)