During his recent visits to Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed agreements that open the door to Japan’s exports of nuclear power generation technology to these countries. Japan has also agreed with Saudi Arabia to start talks on bilateral nuclear cooperation with an eye to striking a similar deal in the future.
There are now a bevy of nuclear power projects in the Middle East, and international competition to win contracts is intense. It is against this background that Abe embarked on his mission.
Given that nuclear power technology raises some serious issues, it should be considered independently of economic policy.
The world is facing the knotty question of how to ensure global security amid spreading use of atomic power. Preventing nuclear proliferation is an urgent and formidable challenge for mankind in the 21st century. In its rush to grab business opportunities offered by surging demand for nuclear power, the Japanese government is showing no sign of giving thoughtful consideration to this situation.
Demand for nuclear power will grow quickly in coming years, especially in emerging countries, including those in South Asia and Latin America, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
One estimate says that the amount of electricity generated with atomic energy in the world will increase more than 3.5-fold in four decades.
Japan, the only country that has experienced the devastation caused by atomic weapons, is still grappling with the dire consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster just over two years ago. This country needs to spend time figuring out ways to make an effective contribution to enhancing the international system for nuclear nonproliferation.
This is a grave issue that has a direct bearing on the safety of this planet. It is not an issue that should be discussed from the viewpoint of whether it can contribute to the government’s growth strategy.
Read the complete article at EDITORIAL: First of all, Japan should think about nuclear nonproliferation