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India−Japan Nuclear Negotiations

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
#777
06/02/2014
Article

Nuclear negotiations between Japan and India have stalled since 2008 primarily because of Japan's insistence on India relinquishing its right to conduct nuclear tests and an immediate cessation of cooperation if India violates its self-imposed moratorium.

The formal statement signed by the Prime Ministers of India and Japan on January 25 states: "The two Prime Ministers reaffirmed their shared commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Abe stressed the importance of bringing into force the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) at an early date. Prime Minister Singh reiterated India's commitment to its unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing."

It is unclear whether India's ongoing production of fissile material for weapons is a bone of contention. The formal statement suggests that the Japanese government is prepared to acquiesce to India's continuing production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. It states that the Prime Ministers "reaffirmed their commitment to working together for immediate commencement and an early conclusion of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT)."

The Japanese government reportedly wants India to formally restate its commitment to a no-first-use policy. India's argues that Japan should accept weaker provisions such as those in the 2008 US−India agreement.

Nuclear liability is another contentious issue. Arun Jaitley, the BJP opposition leader in India's Upper House, told the Japan Times on January 25 that the issue of liability remains murky. Nuclear vendors are relying on a clause in contracts signed with the Nuclear Power Corp. of India to insulate them from any right to recourse in the event of an accident, but Jaitley argues that legally this won't stand.

January 25 was a National Day of Protest against the India-Japan Nuclear Agreement with actions in Koodankulam, Jaitapur, Fatehabad, Kovvada, Mithi Virdi, Chutka and elsewhere. The Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace said: "The agreement will give a push to the Indian government's insane and anachronistic nuclear expansion drive which it is implementing through brutal repression of its rural poor. A recent global nuclear safety report has ranked India 23rd last among the 25 countries. The nuclear regulator in India is completely toothless and non-independent, as highlighted by the CAG report last year."

− Nuclear Monitor

'Abe-genda': nuclear export superpower, www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/01/25/world/abe-genda-nuclear-export-supe...
Joint Statement on the occasion of Official Visit of the Prime Minister of Japan to India (January 25-27, 2014), http://mea.gov.in/bilateral-documents.htm?dtl%2F22772