World|politics|November 7, 2016 / 02:44 PM
Japan, India plan to sign nuclear cooperation deal

AKIPRESS.COM - The Japanese and Indian governments are headed toward signing a nuclear cooperation agreement that will enable Japan to export to India materials, machinery and technologies related to nuclear power plants, according to The Japan News.

The signing ceremony is set to be held when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, in Tokyo on Friday, according to Japanese government sources.

It will be the first time for Japan to sign a nuclear cooperation accord with a non-signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

The two sides are making final arrangements so that a separate document will stipulate that Japan can suspend providing cooperation if India conducts another nuclear bomb test.

Japan initially planned to include such a stipulation in the accord itself, but India did not agree to it.

Therefore, the government agreed to make the accord only mention that Japan’s cooperation will be limited to peaceful purposes, along with general clauses on suspension of the cooperation, while trying to ensure in the separate document that Tokyo can halt such cooperation.

India declared a moratorium on nuclear bomb tests after it conducted a series of such tests in 1998.

When Abe and Modi sign the agreement, Japan will call for India to ensure once again that it will maintain the moratorium in a bid to make the suspension stipulation more effective.

A nuclear cooperation agreement is a precondition for exporting materials, machinery and technologies related to nuclear power plants. Japan has signed this kind of accord with 14 other countries and organizations, including the United States. Agreements took effect with Russia in 2012 and with Turkey and the United Arab Emirates in 2014.

Japan and India started negotiations on a nuclear cooperation accord in 2010, when the Democratic Party of Japan was in power. The talks, however, were suspended in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake the following year.

Abe, who regards exports of nuclear power plants as part of his economic growth strategy, met with then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in May 2013, and the two leaders agreed to resume negotiations and sign an accord as soon as possible.

Abe and Singh also held talks in December last year, during which they agreed in principle to sign a nuclear cooperation accord.

However, Tokyo, which calls for nuclear arms reduction and nonproliferation as Japan is the only country that has been hit by nuclear weapons, has been facing strong criticism over signing such an agreement with New Delhi because India has not signed the NPT and possesses nuclear weapons.

The government believes it can be consistent with its stance of promoting nuclear disarmament if it ensures that Tokyo can suspend cooperation if New Delhi conducts another nuclear bomb test.

As India considers neighboring China to be a security threat, signing the accord has been promoted as sharing Japan’s interests.

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