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Editorial: Japan-India nuclear pact should strictly comply with nonnuclear rules

  • 2015-12-14 15:00:00
  • , Nikkei
  • Translation

(Nikkei: December 13, 2015 – p. 2)

 

 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and agreed in principle that the two nations would conclude a nuclear energy agreement. India plans to substantially increase the number of its nuclear energy plants and has strong expectations for Japan’s nuclear technology. If a pact can be concluded between the two governments, it will open the way for Japan’s nuclear power manufacturers to export [nuclear energy to India].

 

 In concluding the pact, however, Japan must not forget that India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has conducted nuclear weapons testing, and possesses nuclear weapons. It is critical that strict limits be put in place so that the technology, equipment, materials, and information that Japan provides are not diverted to nuclear weapons research and production.

 

 Prime Minister Abe said, “We ensured that cooperation will be limited to peaceful purposes,” but he did not clarify the content [of the agreement]. What kind of mechanism was put in place to prevent diversion to military purposes and to limit use to civil purposes? The Japanese government has an obligation to give a thorough explanation of this to the people of Japan and the international community.

 

 In future negotiations, rules must be further developed and the scope and target of cooperation must be clearly specified.

 

 India lacks electricity for its economic growth and has designated nuclear power as the trump card in its global warming countermeasures as well. The nation is moving to import nuclear power, having concluded nuclear energy pacts with the United States, France, and others.

 

 Even Western manufacturers cannot export nuclear power without [the involvement of] Japanese manufacturers, who have the advanced technologies required to produce reactor vessels and other equipment. If India aims to expand the use of nuclear power for civilian purposes, Japan is the only party who cannot turn away.

 

 However, as the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack, Japan has adhered to the principles of not possessing nuclear weapons and not cooperating in the nuclear armament of another nation. In its nuclear cooperation with India as well, Japan should stick to these principles, demand that India not resume nuclear testing, and persistently call on that nation to join the NPT and pursue nuclear disarmament.

 

 At the summit meeting, it was also decided that India would adopt Japan’s bullet train technology for the high-speed rail India is planning to construct between the commercial city of Mumbai and the industrial city of Ahmedabad in the northwest. Some of the construction costs will be covered by yen loans.

 

 Countries around the world are planning high-speed railway projects one after the other, and the competition to win orders is growing fierce. We would like to see Japan use India’s decision to adopt Japanese technology as a foothold for competing in the world market.

 

 It is important that the deal not end with the export of train cars and the construction of tracks, and that Japan also be involved in railway operation and maintenance. Reducing accidents and malfunctions and demonstrating a high level of safety will lead to lower costs in the long term and enhance the reputation of Japan’s infrastructure technology. It will be important to flexibly adjust support to India in accordance with the conditions there.

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