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Japanese agreement with India raises protests

Japanese agreement with India raises protests


Civic groups and atomic bomb survivors on Saturday criticized the Japanese government for agreeing with India to work toward sealing a civil nuclear cooperation pact, fearing the move might lead India to divert the technology to weapons production.

Some 150 civic group members and others gathered in front of the prime minister’s office in Tokyo, holding banners such as “We cannot create peace with nuclear” and protesting, “We oppose the Japan-India nuclear deal.”

A deal, which involves the export of Japanese nuclear power plant technology, is controversial because India, a nuclear-weapon nation that conducted its first nuclear test in 1974, has not joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The NPT only recognizes Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States as nuclear powers.

Kanna Mitsuta, a member of an environmental group called Friends of the Earth Japan, said the agreement “tramples” on nonproliferation efforts made by Japan, which had the bitter experience of suffering the devastation of U.S. atomic bombings during World War II.

S.P. Udayakumar, a leading figure in India’s anti-nuclear movement, also joined the event via Skype, condemning Japan for trying to sell nuclear power even though its own people are struggling due to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster.

While admitting that the fast-growing Asian country needs electricity, he said people do not want it in the form of nuclear power.

People in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two Japanese cities reduced to ruins by U.S. atomic bombs in 1945, also expressed anger.

Hiroshi Shimizu, secretary general of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-Bomb Sufferers Organizations said, “We are not sure when India, for some reason, will seek to divert the technology to nuclear weapons.”

“This move is intolerable for atomic bomb survivors because it goes against the government’s position to seek the abolition of nuclear weapons,” the 73-year-old Shimizu said.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue called the latest development “extremely regrettable,” noting that atomic bomb survivors’ groups and many others were against the civil nuclear cooperation pact.

“I strongly urge (the Japanese government) to fulfill its responsibility as a country subjected to nuclear weapons,” he said.

In India on Saturday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in principle on concluding a civil nuclear cooperation pact, saying the deal will be signed after technical details are finalized.


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