May 30, 2013
Abe pushes ahead with India nuclear agreement, despite concerns
Despite major concerns about the effects on the global nuclear nonproliferation structure, Japan and India have agreed to push forward with
negotiations for a nuclear agreement.
The joint statement released May 29 by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh was the result of both countrries'
The Abe administration has placed the export of nuclear plant technology as a key plank in its economic growth strategy, and a nuclear
agreement is needed with India to clear the way forward.
This spring, Abe visited the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to sell them on Japanese nuclear technology.
However, unlike those three nations, India is a nuclear power and has not yet signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Japan has lobbied for India to abandon its nuclear arsenal and join the NPT, but to no avail.
An exception was made for the export of nuclear plant technology to India in 2008 by the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, to which Japan
belongs. The decision to exempt India was made at the behest of the United States.
In exchange, India has pledged a moratorium on nuclear testing.
Japan says it will suspend cooperation in the nuclear energy field with India if the country does not keep to the moratorium.
While the nuclear weapons issue is a sensitive one for Japan, the country has compromised with India because of its potential as a huge market
for nuclear energy technology.
In addition to six reactors now under construction, there are also plans to build at least 20 more. The construction costs for a single
reactor run between 400 billion and 500 billion yen ($3.9 billion and $4.9 billion).
With the prospects for constructing new nuclear reactors in Japan fading as a result of the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power
plant, the export of nuclear energy technology is of extreme interest to roughly 10,000 companies in Japan that are connected in some way with the field.
A high-ranking industry ministry official said, "The economic trickle-down effects from exports are huge."
A government source said, "Japan's technology is indispensable for the United States and France, which having been selling nuclear plant
technology to India."
Because the United States and France use Japanese-made parts for nuclear plants, the absence of a nuclear agreement between Japan and India
slows down nuclear business deals for those two nations as well.
In late April, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius pressed Japanese government officials to move quickly on signing a nuclear agreement
India also wants to move quickly on such an agreement because it faces chronic electricity shortages due to inadequate power generation
facilities and power transmission lines.
Its 9-percent energy shortfall could stymie India's economic growth in the years ahead if the deficiency is left unattended.
While the May 29 joint statement made no mention of the NPT in connection with India, Abe said he hoped the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban
Treaty would go into force as soon as possible.
India has also not signed the CTBT, but Abe said that he received a commitment from Singh on the voluntary nuclear test moratorium.
However, concerns still remain over exporting nuclear technology to India. The Fukushima disaster raised questions about whether Japan should
export such technology. Groups of atomic bomb victims have also criticized plans to export the technology to India.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on May 29 that a major precondition for negotiations with India was gaining assurances that the
technology would only be used for peaceful purposes.
There is a liability risk involved in exporting nuclear technology to India as well. In the event of an accident, responsibility for
compensation is not limited to the plant operator and could also extend to the companies that constructed the reactor.
One executive of a nuclear plant manufacturer said: "We have no idea to what extent we would be held responsible. There will likely be few
companies that are eager to jump into the market."
DIFFERENT ATTITUDES ON CHINA
While Abe also wanted to strengthen political ties with India as a means of countering China, those efforts did not go as smoothly as the
talks on the nuclear agreement.
Like Japan, India also has a territorial dispute with China. Abe hoped to take advantage of that fact to bring India to his corner when
dealing with China about the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands.
India, however, wants to emphasize its economic ties with China as a means of expanding exports for such major industrial sectors as
information technology and pharmaceuticals.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited India last week, and the joint statement released at that time said that the two nations recognized each
other as partners not rivals.
(This article was written by Jun Tabushi, Yuriko Suzuki and Masaaki Shoji in New Delhi.)
Abe, Singh ink statement on nuclear deal
India moved a step closer Wednesday to acquiring Japanese nuclear technology and equipment when its prime minister, Manmohan Singh, and his
Tokyo counterpart, Shinzo Abe, signed a joint statement to promote talks to conclude a cooperation pact to this end.
In addition to talks on nuclear power cooperation, the statement issued in Tokyo also supports expanded joint naval exercises.
“I’m very pleased that I’m able to hold a summit with you . . . as the prime minister of Japan again,” Abe said at the outset a summit session
with Singh, going on to praise Singh for developing a strategic and global bilateral partnership.
A subsequent pact would allow Japanese firms to export nuclear technologies and equipment to India, which is struggling to meet energy demand
to sustain the country’s rapid economic growth.
However, because it’s not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, there is concern that India could use Japanese technologies and
equipment to further develop nuclear weapons.
Japanese diplomats say New Delhi has pledged strict nonmilitary use of Japanese nuclear know-how and hardware. A future pact would lay out
specific conditions and measures to ensure the peaceful use of nuclear exports, they say.
“The two prime ministers reaffirmed their shared commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons,” the two leaders declared in their
On Wednesday Singh also reiterated his country’s commitment to its unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear weapons tests.
The two countries also agreed to promote talks on the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, a proposed international pact prohibiting further
production of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium.
Pressure to restart talks on a nuclear cooperation pact, which reportedly hit a snag following the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear
power plant in 2011, have increased due to growing Indian energy demands and Abe’s ambition to export more Japanese infrastructure technologies, including nuclear reactors and related
At a ceremony at the Prime Minister’s Office, the two leaders also agreed to conduct more frequent and regular joint sea exercises by the
Indian Navy and the Maritime Self-Defense Force. They also hailed drills held last year by the two nations’ coast guards.
The two countries will work together to secure “the freedom of navigation and unimpeded commerce based on the principles of international
law,” Singh and Abe said in the statement.
Abe meanwhile pledged to continue providing official development assistance “at a substantial level” to India, including for social
Since his first stint as prime minister in 2006 and 2007, Abe has regarded India as a key strategic partner for Japan, particularly as a
counterbalance to China’s growth.
May 29, 2013
Japan, India to work toward civil nuclear deal
The leaders of Japan and India say they will speed up negotiations for the early signing of a civil nuclear pact.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed a joint statement after their meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday.
The statement calls for accelerating talks for an early signing of a nuclear deal that would allow Japanese firms to export atomic power-related technology. India is planning to build more
nuclear power plants.
The joint statement also calls for bilateral efforts for the total abolition of nuclear weapons.
The statement says Japan and India will promote joint exercises between Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force and India's navy. The move comes at a time when China has been increasing its maritime
The prime ministers also agreed to set up a joint working group and continue to discuss exports of Japan's US-2 amphibious rescue aircraft to India.
Japan has agreed to help develop India's infrastructure, by offering loans worth 71 billion yen or about 700 million dollars to build a subway line in India's western city of Mumbai. The 2
countries will also conduct a joint survey on a project to build a high-speed railway system in western India.
The 2 governments will also arrange a visit to India by Japan's Emperor and Empress between late November and early December.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Singh, Abe expressed his wish to strengthen Japan's ties with India based on a strategic global partnership, on the occasion of the Indian leader's
Singh said he will work to expand trade and private investment and continue their cooperative bilateral relationship for development, especially in India's infrastructure.
May 29, 2013 - Updated 12:25 UTC
Japan, India seek early agreement on civil nuclear pact
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart agreed on May 29 to speed up talks on a deal to allow Japan to export nuclear plants and
to strengthen security cooperation as both sides keep a wary eye on China's military clout.
The Indo-Japanese summit meeting follows Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit last week to India, which has been shaken by a recent border spat
with China and is cautious about Beijing's friendship with rival Pakistan.
Japan, for its part, has been locked in a territorial dispute with China over a group of East China Sea islets.
"In the political and security area, maritime security cooperation will further be strengthened ... On civil nuclear cooperation, negotiation
will be accelerated toward the early conclusion of the agreement," Abe told a ceremony alongside India's Manmohan Singh.
Unable to rely on a coal sector crippled by supply shortages and mired in scandals, India is pushing ahead with constructing nuclear reactors
despite global jitters over safety. Hundreds of millions of Indians still live without power and factories suffer frequent blackouts.
A civil nuclear energy pact with India would give Japanese nuclear technology firms such as Toshiba Corp. and Hitachi Ltd. access to India's
fast-growing market when they search for opportunities overseas to offset an anti-nuclear backlash at home in response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
India operates 20 mostly small reactors at six sites with a capacity of 4,780 MW, or 2 percent of its total power capacity, according to the
Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited. New Delhi hopes to lift its nuclear capacity to 63,000 MW by 2032 by adding nearly 30 reactors.
Abe and Singh welcomed expanding defense cooperation and decided to hold regular joint naval exercises. The first such exercise was held last
Faced with China's maritime expansion, Singh and Abe said they were committed to freedom of navigation and unimpeded commerce, and agreed to
promote cooperation on maritime issues.
In a separate move, Japan agreed to extend up to 71 billion yen ($694 million) in official development assistance for a subway project in
Mumbai, India's financial capital.
"Our discussions were guided by the fundamental belief that at the time of global uncertainties, change and challenges, India and Japan are
natural and indispensable partners," Singh said.
"We attach particular importance to intensifying political dialogue and strategic consultation and progressively strengthening defense
UNEASE OVER CHINA
India has often been nervous about Chinese agreements with its neighbors that are not strictly military but could be leveraged in a
Indians sometimes refer to these as a "string of pearls," which include China's ties with Pakistan, access to a Myanmar naval base, Chinese
construction of a deep-water port in Sri Lanka, and its deepening ties with Nepal and the Maldives.
India and Japan also agreed to strengthen cooperation in renewable energy, energy conservation, clean coal technologies and liquefied natural
Singh expressed interest in working with Japan in extraction of natural gas from undersea methane hydrate deposits.
State-run Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. said in March it extracted gas from offshore methane hydrate deposits for the first time in
the world, as part of an attempt to achieve commercial production within six years.