Japan’s nuclear agreement with Turkey contradicts Japan’s policy on nuclear weapons proliferation
Japan’s energy pact with Turkey raises nuclear weapons concerns Asahi Shimbun, This article was compiled from reports by Sachiko Miwa in Tokyo and Kazuyuki Kanai in Istanbul., 7 Jan 14, A pact required for Japan’s first nuclear plant export after the Fukushima disaster faces opposition over concerns about a possible proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Debate over the issue is expected when the government seeks Diet approval for the nuclear energy agreement with Turkey during a session that convenes this month. Japan and Turkey agreed to conclude the nuclear energy pact, a precondition for exporting nuclear technology, in May. It requires the recipient country to use technology, as well as equipment and materials, only for peaceful purposes.
However, the pact includes a provision allowing Turkey to enrich uranium and extract plutonium, a potential material for nuclear weapons, from spent fuel if the two countries agree in writing. A senior Foreign Ministry official said the clause was added at the request of Turkey.
The agreement would also pave the way for exporting Japan’s enrichment and spent nuclear fuel reprocessing technologies if revisions are made.
The provision has sparked criticism that it contradicts Japan’s stance against nuclear weapons.
“There is a risk that (the government) accepts unreasonable demands in relation to projects sponsored by a prime minister,” Shigeaki Koga, a former industry ministry bureaucrat, said.
A consortium that includes Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. won a contract to build four nuclear reactors in the Black Sea city of Sinop with strong backing from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is pushing nuclear plant exports as part of his growth strategy.
Abe and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, met in Tokyo on Jan. 7. The two leaders discussed the project and overall atomic energy cooperation when Abe visited Turkey in May and October.
The Sinop project will be Japan’s first nuclear plant export after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant triggered by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami…….
Although the opposition Democratic Party of Japan promoted nuclear plant exports when it was in power, some of its lawmakers, including those from areas affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident, are against the pact.
The Japan Restoration Party, another opposition party, has decided to oppose the agreement.
Even the foreign affairs division of Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party withheld its approval in October because some members said the provision on uranium enrichment and plutonium extraction will run counter to nuclear nonproliferation.
The LDP division gave its approval only after Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida offered reassurances in the Diet that Japan will not allow spent fuel reprocessing in Turkey………. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201401070060
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