Japan’s new “national security” amendment could pave way for nuclear weapons development
“Is this intended to pave the way for (Japan’s) nuclear armament?”..
‘National security’ amendment to nuclear law raises fears of military use June 21, 2012 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN Supporters of an amendment quietly slipped into Japan’s nuclear power law saying it should contribute to “national security” are denying it could provide cover for military use of nuclear technology.
The provision, which says nuclear safety should be guaranteed not only to defend lives, people’s health and the environment but also to “contribute to Japan’s national security,” became part of the Atomic Energy Basic Law on June 20.
Critics say the change to the 1955 basic law, known as the “constitution” of nuclear energy use in Japan, was made without proper debate on the sidelines of political maneuvering in the Diet.
However, it could have far-reaching consequences for Japan’s nuclear stance and heighten international concern about the nation’s nuclear recycling program of extracting plutonium from spent nuclear fuel.
A provision mentioning a “contribution to Japan’s national security”
was also included in the Aerospace Basic Law of 2008, which fueled
calls to use artificial satellites for defense purposes.
A law enacted on June 20 to establish a new nuclear regulatory
commission to replace the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency also
said the commission should “contribute to Japan’s national security.”
None of the changes were widely discussed before they were passed by
During a session of the Upper House Environment Committee on June 20,
one lawmaker asked: “Is this intended to pave the way for (Japan’s)
nuclear armament?”….. the physicist Michiji Konuma, professor
emeritus at Keio University and a member of the Committee of Seven for
World Peace, a Japanese group that is calling for the scrapping of the
amendment, said: “If they insist that it’s all about safeguards, why
don’t they say so explicitly? They used a cryptic expression and left
room for stretched interpretation.”
The “national security” provision was added to Article 2 of the Atomic
Energy Basic Law, which stipulates that the research, development and
use of nuclear power should be conducted “under democratic management
and in an autonomous manner,” and that the results should not be
The revised law retains the wording that the use of nuclear power
should be limited to peaceful purposes.
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