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Japanese Citizens Send Letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Opposing Nuclear Cooperation

25 October 2010

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Media Release

October 25, 2010

Japanese citizens expressed their opposition to nuclear cooperation between Japan and India in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Singh, which was sent today to the Indian Embassy in Tokyo. The letter was endorsed by over 50 people, including Hibakusha and other people from Hiroshima and Nagasaki and leaders of major nuclear abolition groups. The letter and list of signatories is attached and is also available on the following URL:
http://cnic.jp/english/topics/international/nukecoop/japanindiasingh25oct10.html

Prime Minister Singh, who is currently visiting Japan, is expected to discuss a proposed bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement when he meets Japanese Government ministers. The Japanese Government reversed a decades-old policy of not engaging in nuclear cooperation with non-NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) member states when it began negotiations with India on a bilateral agreement at the end of June this year.

The letter explains the feelings of the Hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombings) and why there is so much opposition in Japan, in particular from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to nuclear cooperation between Japan and India. It states, “Based on the experiences of the Hibakusha we can unequivocally affirm that nuclear weapons and human beings cannot coexist.”

Finally, the letter calls on India to follow the lead of Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Ghandi and stand in the forefront of moves for nuclear abolition.

Since the possibility of nuclear cooperation between Japan and India was first raised in April this year, there has been strong opposition from Japanese civil society and sections of the Japanese media.

Contacts

Masayoshi Naito (Japanese only)
- Board Member, Japan Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms
- Phone: +81 3 5283 7799 Mobile: 090 8817 4283

Philip White (English and Japanese)
- International Liaison Officer, Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center
- Akebonobashi Co-op 2F—B, 8—5 Sumiyoshi—cho, Shinjuku—ku, Tokyo, 1620065, Japan
Phone: +81—333573800, +81—3 37082898
- Email: white at cnic.jp Web: http://cnic.jp/english/


[(The Hon Dr Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister of India

Dear Prime Minister,

We are people of Japan, including Hibakusha and other people from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the sites of the atomic bombings, who are working for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

We expect that during your visit to Japan you will discuss with Japanese Government Ministers the proposed nuclear cooperation agreement between Japan and India. Under the current circumstances, in which India has not agreed to submit all its nuclear facilities for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and has not even agreed to end production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, we strongly oppose any such nuclear cooperation agreement between our countries.

Mr Prime Minister, we wonder if you have ever visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or whether you have heard directly from Hibakusha about their experiences.

The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were small compared to most of the nuclear weapons now deployed around the world. Nevertheless, they destroyed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in an instant. They burnt alive tens of thousands of people and contaminated the cities with radioactivity. The atomic bombs not only killed indiscriminately, but after the war was over they continued to torment and kill people exposed to the radiation. Keloids, leukemia, cataracts, cancer and all sorts of other diseases assailed the bodies of the Hibakusha. In addition, the atomic bombs cast a shadow over all aspects of the lives of the Hibakusha, creating continued suffering for them, both mental and physical: in love and in marriage, in pregnancy and in childbirth, and in their study and work.

Based on the experiences of the Hibakusha we can unequivocally affirm that nuclear weapons and human beings cannot coexist. This is the starting point for our appeal.

India has a history of striving for nuclear disarmament. From the beginning, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru strongly opposed nuclear weapons on moral, political and strategic grounds, calling their possession "a crime against humanity". Also, Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi in his address to the UN General Assembly on 8 June 1988 appealed strongly for the abolition of nuclear weapons, calling nuclear deterrence "the ultimate expression of the philosophy of terrorism".

It is true, as India has repeatedly pointed out, that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is an unequal treaty. However, looking at India now, one cannot help thinking that India believes power and prestige derive from the possession of nuclear weapons. India might have adopted a nuclear no-first-use strategy, but seen from the perspective of the experience of the Hibakusha, the possession of nuclear weapons is by no means a source of power and prestige. Rather, it is the epitome of immorality.

India reaffirmed its moratorium on nuclear testing when the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) amended its guidelines to allow a special exemption permitting nuclear cooperation with India, which is not a member of the NPT. However, India has not promised never again to conduct a nuclear test. Nor has it agreed to IAEA safeguards that would prevent it from using domestically produced material to produce nuclear weapons. Under these circumstances, given that India has not promised not to produce nuclear weapons in future, if Japan were to proceed with cooperation on nuclear technology with India, this would be interpreted by other countries, including Pakistan and other Islamic countries, as meaning that Japan, the victim of nuclear weapons, is cooperating in India’s development of nuclear weapons.

This in turn would lead either to the interpretation that the damage caused by nuclear weapons is not so great after all, or that Japan places a higher priority on economic benefits than on nuclear abolition.

This is intolerable for the citizens of the country which suffered the atomic bombings, who for all these years have been appealing for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

In view of these circumstances, we believe you will understand why there is so much opposition in Japan, in particular from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to nuclear cooperation between Japan and India.

Based on the above comments, if India wishes to conclude a nuclear cooperation agreement with Japan, it must at the very least cease production of nuclear material for weapons, including from domestic sources, put all its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, and, following the lead of Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Ghandi, stand in the forefront of moves for nuclear abolition.

25 October 2010

List of signatories

Katsuaki AOKI (Co-Director, Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition)

ASADA Akira (Freelance Mathematician)

Hideyuki BAN (Co-Director, Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center)

DOI Keiko (lay member on the executive committee of the West-Chugoku Parish of the United Church of Christ in Japan)

Yasunari FUJIMOTO (Secretary General, Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs (Gensuikin))

Taeko HIRANO (Organizing Committee Member, Nagasaki Global Citizens’ Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons)

Masahito HIROSE (Senior partner of Nagasaki Testimonial Society)

Tachishige HIROSE (Professor Emeritus of Tokyo Metropolitan University, President of Machida No Waste Committee)

Jun HOSHIKAWA (Executive Director, Greenpeace Japan)

Toyoichi IHARA (President of Nagasaki Prefecture Hibakusha Handbook Friends Group)

Seiji ISONAGA (Office member of Oizumi Article 9 Association)

Sumie JIMMA (Seikyo Seikatsu Club, Ecological Community Blue Star, Chienowa House)

Ken’ichi KAKU (Designer)

Goro KAWAI (Co-Director, Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition)

Akira KAWASAKI (Executive Committee Member, Peace Boat)

KOTERA Morio (Nursing care worker)

Tomoko MAEKAWA (Instructor at Nagasaki University)

Kazuo MATSUI (Secretary General, Physicians Against Nuclear War)

Keiko MIYAMOTO (Nagasaki Peace Flame)

Haruko MORITAKI (Director, Association for Peace Exchange with Indian & Pakistani Youth,

Co-Director, Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition)

Kazuhiro MURAYAMA (Hokuriku Committee Opposed to Monju)

Hiromi NAGAO (World Children’s Newspaper)

Masayoshi NAITO (Board Member, Japan Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms,

Coordinator, Citizens Network for Nuclear Weapons Abolition)

Keiko NAKAMORI (No War, White Ribbon for Peace, Kanagawa)

Osamu NIIKURA
 (President, 
Japanese Lawyers International Solidarity Association,

President, Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association)

Baku NISHIO (Co-Director, Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center)

NOMURA Osami (Steering Committee Member, Depleted Uranium Center Japan)

Kimiko OGASAWARA (Ferris University)

Mitsuo OKAMOTO (Co-Director, Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition)

Kenichi OKUBO (Secretary General, 
Japan Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms)

Kozo OSHIMA

Isao SAKAMOTO (Former Professor of Nagoya Institute of Technology)

SATO Daisuke (Secretary-general, No Nukes Asia Forum Japan)

Meiko SATO (Director, ’Of human’ Education and Research Association)

Yoshiko SHIDARA (Co-Director, Women’s Democratic Club)

Tatsuya SHIGEGAKI

SUDA Minoru (Professor Emeritus of Ritsumeikan University)

Koji SUGIHARA (No to Nukes and Missile Defense Campaign)

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

Hiroko TAKAHASHI (Assistant Professor of Hiroshima Peace Institute, Hiroshima City University)

Takao TAKAHARA (Professor of Meiji Gakuin University)

Terumi TANAKA (Secretary General, Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers)

TERAO Terumi (Professor Emeritus at Nagoya Institute of Technology)

Kyouji TOMITA (Nerima Education Issues Exchange Association)

Masao TOMONAGA (Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Nagasaki Global Citizens’ Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons)

Hideyo TSUCHIYAMA (Advisor to the Organizing Committee, Nagasaki Global Citizens’ Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons)

Hiromichi UMEBAYASHI (Special Advisor, Peace Depot)

Masayuki YAMADA (Professor of Osaka Kyoiku University)

Yukio YAMAGUCHI (Co-Director, Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center)

Takeshi YAMAKAWA

Hidenori YAMAMOTO (Nagasaki Hibakusha)

Kiyoko YANAKA (Resident of Sagamihara)

Yukio YOKOHARA (Current Director and Former Secretary General, Hiroshima Gensuikin)

Ichiro YUASA (President, Peace Depot) )]