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Japanese attempt to silence opposition Pacific

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(December 4, 1994) The Japanese government invited the member countries of the South Pacific Forum (SPF) to a 'study tour' early October 1994. This tour included visits to nuclear power facilities, lectures on Japan's nuclear policy and its safety, etc.

(423.4185) WISE Amsterdam - In fact, it was a repetition of the strategy of persuasion used when Japan was planning to dump nuclear waste in the Pacific, and invited Pacific heads of states to visit Japan and tour nuclear power plants. The total number of participants was 20; those who are in charge of Energy, environment or Foreign Affairs. All expenses (US$400,000) were covered by the Japanese government and the Japanese Atomic Energy Promotion Foundation.

It was explained that this tour reflected the promise made by Japan, when it attended the SPF meeting in 1992 as an observer where it faced opposition to its plutonium shipment, that it would keep in-forming the SPF members of the situation/progress with regards to the plutonium policy. However, the method Japan has taken seems to be far from fair or neutral; it is merely an attempt to force Pacific nations to believe that "Japanese technology is supreme", "safety systems in Japan's nuclear policy is perfect and absolute", which many Japanese citizens, including specialized scientists, do not believe. An official of the Japanese Science and Technology Agency was quoting in a newspaper article as saying "the lack of understanding of atomic energy has led to hostile campaigns"; "since no nuclear-related facility exists in the South Pacific, the basic knowledge of nuclear power is insufficient": "we organized this tour from a neutral stance to help them deepen their understanding of nuclear power". Several Japanese citizen groups and individuals reacted to this report and made an urgent statement to the government blaming its clear intention to silence opposition to the planned ocean transport of high level nuclear waste as Well as plutonium. They claimed "it is clear that the real motivation behind this extremely warm welcome is an attempt to crush and silence opposition; it is literally a case of letting money speak". The statement also asked for a wider forum so that the SPF delegates could get balanced information, including the dangers of nuclear energy. This statement was neglected and delegates were given only the government side of the story.

However, several participants including cabinet-level high officials responded, under the condition of anonymity, and said "the lectures did not give us enough time for questions and our anxiety about nuclear transports was not solved at all"; "when I tried to raise a question it was dodged as 'no specialist to answer is available' or 'let us move to the next section'"; "what Tokyo called edification on Japan's nuclear power program was actually little more than self-justification.

It the will of the Pacific People is 'No Nuke', the Japanese government should understand that 'No Means No'. Instead, Japan seems to be trying to have the voice of the Pacific shut up by exercising its money power.

Source: Pacific News Bulletin, November 1994
Contact: Citizens' Nuclear Information Center. 302 Daini Take Bldg., 1- 59-14 Higashi-nakano, Nakano-Ku, Tokyo 164.
Tel: + 8 1-3-5330.9520; Fax: + 81-3-5330.9530
Pacific Concerns Resource Centre. 83 Amy Street, Toorak, Private Mail Bag, Suva, Fiji. Tel: + 679-304-649; Fax: + 679-304-755