Japan warns India against nuclear tests

Japan warns India against nuclear tests

Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuyo Okada is in India this week holding talks on civilian nuclear cooperation, but he is also pushing for a clause to attempt to limit India’s future nuclear weapons tests:

Before leaving for his two-day visit to India, Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said any civilian nuclear deal between the two countries needed a clause to define how Tokyo would respond to any nuclear test by New Delhi.

"Japan will have no option but to suspend our cooperation" in the event of a nuclear test by India, Okada told a news conference in New Delhi

The two countries launched talks in June on signing an atomic civilian cooperation agreement which will allow Tokyo to export nuclear power generation technology and related equipment to energy-hungry India.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s government has been criticized at home for negotiating the deal with India, which developed nuclear weapons outside the framework of the global non-proliferation treaty. Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun editorializes

Cooperation with any country like India on atomic energy could make the NPT a dead letter and give Iran and other countries that are suspected of developing nuclear weapons even though they are parties to the treaty an excuse to develop nuclear arms…. [I]n negotiating with India, Japan should assert its position as the only country that has suffered from nuclear devastation.

India seems unlikely to agree to further pledges against nuclear testing, beyond those it has already made. As a member of the international nuclear-suppliers group, Japan finally overcame years of resistance in 2008 when it agreed to a waiver that allowed India to receive nucelar assistance despite its non-NPT status. Japan’s willingness to cooperate on nuclear energy with India is a pretty good indication of how China’s military and economic rise has changed the equation for its neighbors.