Japanese Government Support for Nuclear Exports

Media Release

July 27, 2009

Public Finance and Export Insurance for Nuclear-Related Exports
NGOs Demand Rigorous Safety Assessment, Information Disclosure and Stakeholder Involvement

Tokyo, July 27, 2009
Japanese NGOs concerned about the social and environmental impacts of proposed exports of nuclear power plants today submitted demands to the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI). The submission demanded rigorous safety assessment, information disclosure and meaningful stakeholder involvement for projects supported by JBIC and NEXI.1

The Japanese Government is vigorously promoting nuclear exports by Japanese industry. It intends to support such exports through public finance from JBIC and export insurance from NEXI. However, JBIC and NEXI lack adequate guidelines for the assessment of nuclear related issues, such as safety, accident response and radioactive waste management. Furthermore, access to information and stakeholder involvement in relation to projects’ nuclear component is not guaranteed.2

Considering the problems encountered with Japan’s own nuclear power program, it can be expected that promoting nuclear power in developing countries, which often suffer from governance problems and lack the necessary democratic participatory processes and technical skills, will involve even greater risks. We believe that it is inappropriate to provide public finance and insurance for nuclear exports to countries facing problems such as these.3 However, the government is clearly determined to support nuclear exports. Under these circumstances, we demand that the government exercise the utmost caution when considering proposals for public finance and export insurance for nuclear projects.

The submission’s main points are as follows:

  • Public support should not be provided for nuclear-related projects in regions of tension and regions where terrorism is rife, or for projects in politically unstable countries.
  • Safety standards at least as high as those in Japan should be required.
  • The details and the efficacy of management and disposal plans for radioactive waste, including spent nuclear fuel, should be confirmed.
  • Appropriate standards and monitoring systems in regard to worker radiation exposure should be in place.
  • Adequate access to information and stakeholder involvement should be assured.
  • Proposals should be reviewed by an independent review committee.

The submission was drafted by the following four Japanese NGOs.

Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES)
Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center
Friends of the Earth Japan
Mekong Watch

In addition to these four NGOs, the submission was endorsed by 15 other Japanese NGOs.

1. Click here to read the submission (Japanese only).

2. Support by JBIC and NEXI for nuclear-related projects was discussed during the public consultation process for last year’s review of JBIC’s and NEXI’s environmental and social guidelines, but rules covering such projects were not included in the revised guidelines, which were released last week. However, in a response dated November 11, 2008 to a question by Diet Member Masamichi Kondoh, the government said, “JBIC will produce guidelines that ensure that finance is not provided for [nuclear] projects where the project proponent has not provided appropriate information to residents in regard to confirmation of the project’s safety, accident response and management of radioactive waste.” The government did not indicate that NEXI intended to produce such guidelines.

3. Note that the demands in the NGO’s submission apply to both developing and developed countries.

Eri Watanabe (Friends of the Earth Japan): +81-3-6907-7217

Philip White (Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center): +81-3-3357-3800

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