Japanese Groups Protest NSG Exemption for India Nuke Info Tokyo No. 126

Statement Concerning an Amendment to NSG Guidelines Granting an Exemption for India

After extending its deliberations by one day to September 6, an extraordinary meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) finally agreed to amend its guidelines to allow a special exception for India. The amendment exempts India from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) requirement that countries may only engage in nuclear trade if they accept International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) full-scope safeguards, despite the fact that India developed nuclear weapons outside the NPT framework. This decision risks shaking the foundations of the NPT system and is therefore totally unacceptable.

Circumstances evolved rapidly after the agreement between Indian Prime Minister Singh and US President Bush at the July Toyako G8 Summit to expedite the US-India Nuclear Agreement. On August 1 the IAEA Board of Governors approved a safeguards agreement covering some of India’s nuclear facilities. Then on August 21,22 the NSG held an extraordinary plenary meeting to consider whether to exempt India from its ban on nuclear trade with countries that have not accepted full-scope IAEA safeguards. Strong objections were raised by countries including Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland, so the NSG reconvened on September 4 and 5. The meeting was extended to September 6, but regrettably, as a result of strong pressure from the US, an amendment to NSG Guidelines was finally passed granting an exemption for India.

Despite the history of the atomic bombing, the government of Japan accepted the US-India Nuclear Agreement, which affords exceptional treatment for India, without even making an effort to minimize the blow to the NPT system. In doing so, it ignored statements issued by groups representing Hibakusha (A-bomb sufferers) living in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by the Mayors of both these cities, by the Governors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Prefectures, by local councils and prefectural assemblies, as well as the united calls of Hibakusha groups, nuclear disarmament groups and other peace groups throughout Japan which for years have been striving for nuclear disarmament. The government also ignored recent cross-party expressions of opposition by Members of the Japanese Diet. As citizens of the country that was attacked by nuclear weapons, we are overwhelmed with shame that we have such a government.

Together with people who fought with us for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation on this occasion, we demand a convincing explanation from the government of its behavior in the NSG. Since there are many US Congress Members who have expressed opposition, we will also continue to strive to prevent this Agreement being approved by Congress. And we maintain our strong demand for the Japanese Government to strive for the banning and elimination of nuclear weapons and for the government to initiate a multi-lateral discussion to that end in the near future.

7 September 2008

Hibakusha Groups

Terumi Tanaka
Secretary General
Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers (Nihon Hidankyo)

Kazushi Kaneko
Director General
Hiroshima Council of A-Bomb Sufferers Organizations

Sunao Tuboi
Director General
Hiroshima Council of A-Bomb Sufferers Organizations

Other Hiroshima and Nagasaki Groups

Nobuo Kazashi
NO DU Hiroshima Project

Steven Leeper
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation

Haruko Moritaki
Association for Peace Exchange with Indian & Pakistani Youth

Mitsuo Okamoto, Goro Kawai, Haruko Moritaki
Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition

Masanobu Omori
Hiroshima Council Against A and Hydrogen Bombs

Hideo Tsuchiyama
Nagasaki Global Citizens’ Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Other Japanese NGOs

Hideyuki Ban
Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center

Sadao Ichikawa
Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs (Gensuikin)

Michiji Konuma
Committee of Seven for World Peace Appeals

Masayoshi Naito
Citizens’ Network for Nuclear Weapons Abolition

Osamu Niikura
Japanese Lawyers International Solidarity Association

Kenichi Ohkubo
Secretary General
Japan Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (JALANA)

Yoshiko Shidara
Women’s Democratic Club

Hiroshi Taka
Secretary General
Japan Council against A- and H-Bombs (Gensuikyo)

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