||The data presented here is based on documents obtained by Tetsuo Inami, a Member of the House of Representatives. The data is for the 2003 fiscal year (ended 31 March 2004). As long as data on plutonium stockpiles has been published, CNIC has printed the data for calendar years (i.e. a different basis from this year's data) published by the Atomic Energy Commission, but the 2003 data isn't yet available.
The data was always published in July, but last year it wasn't published until September 2nd. This year it still isn't available as at mid September. Since 9.11, national emergency legislation has been proceeding apace and, as part of Japan's terror response policy, restrictions have been placed on visits to nuclear facilities by the general public. On the principle that seeing is believing, industry had actively promoted public tours, but now they can no longer do this. Probably the delay in the publication of plutonium data is related to this. In the past this data listed holdings at each plant, but no doubt the publication of this type of detail is under review. The government had been open in reporting its use of plutonium, on the grounds that transparency would underwrite Japan's program of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. However, from the data the government has published this time, one can guess what it is thinking about.
A scandal has arisen about South Korea's extraction of a few milligrams of plutonium twenty years ago. By comparison, a glance at this table will show that Japan has 5.5 tons of plutonium stockpiled within Japan, while its overseas holdings have increased 5 tons to 39 tons. The error in these figures is probably in the order of kilograms and at the moment there is no concrete plan for using this plutonium. Inevitably Japan's reprocessing policy will lead to increased tension in the Middle East and North East Asia.
By Hideyuki Ban (CNIC Co-Director)
Click here to find links to data for previous years.
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