Statements Archive
Apr 30, 2012 - Japanese NGO Joint Statement calling for an end to plutonium production and reprocessing
On April 30, 2012, Peace Boat together with 28 Japanese NGO representatives and academics released the "No More Plutonium Production: Japanese NGO Joint Statement; Stop Plans for Reprocessing – Prevent Nuclear Weapons Proliferation." The full text and list of co-signatories can be seen below, and downloaded as a pdf at the end of this page.

This statement will be delivered to relevant Japanese Government agencies including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Environment and Industry, and the Atomic Energy Commission. Peace Boat also has two representatives present at the 2012 First Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), taking place in Vienna from April 30. Here, the statement will be distributed by Peace Boat to State and NGO representatives participating in the Conference.

Endorsement is also welcome from individuals or groups both in Japan and overseas. Expressions of endorsement should be sent by email with name, affiliation and country to nuclear.abolition.japan(a)gmail.com by Friday May 11, 2011.

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No More Plutonium Production
Japanese NGO Joint Statement
Stop Plans for Reprocessing – Prevent Nuclear Weapons Proliferation

The Japanese Government is currently undergoing discussion regarding nuclear fuel cycle policy. Japanese nuclear energy policy is overall being reexamined since the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident of March 2011, and the issue of spent fuel is of extreme importance within this issue. Sufficient debate from perspectives including safety, transparency and cost is necessary. We take this opportunity to hereby express concerns over the relationship of plans for reprocessing of spent fuel and nuclear weapons.

Plutonium separated through the reprocessing of spent fuel is a potential ingredient for nuclear weapons. The atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki was a plutonium bomb. With current technology, it is said to be possible to build an atomic bomb with around 5 kilograms of plutonium. The fact that nuclear reactor grade plutonium can be used to create nuclear weapons is acknowledged internationally by experts.

Japan is already in possession of approximately 45 tonnes, an enormous amount of separated plutonium, both within Japan and outside. In addition, if operations begin at the reprocessing plant in Rokkasho Village, Aomori Prefecture, enough plutonium for a maximum of 1000 atomic bombs would be commercially produced annually.

Plans for the use of this plutonium are not in place. Not only are plans for fast-breeding nuclear reactions practically abandoned, as the Government is now proclaiming a shift away from dependency on nuclear power, expansion of pluthermal plans is unthinkable. If this continues, Japan would go against the government's own fundamental policy and accumulate huge stocks of plutonium whose use and purpose cannot be explained. Although Japan maintains its three non nuclear principles and is in strict adherence of its obligations according to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), this could lead to suspicions of nuclear weapons development from neighbouring countries. Furthermore, the risk of theft of plutonium or attacks on facilities would increase.

Japan going forward with reprocessing also has the potential risk of adversely impacting the proliferation of nuclear weapons. If operations begin at the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant, Japan will become the only non-nuclear weapon state fully producing plutonium. In response, other countries are likely to express their right to obtain the same technology as Japan. For example, voices calling for reprocessing technology are increasing in South Korea. This could potentially destroy the foundations of the Joint Declaration on Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula (1992), impeding the denuclearisation of Northeast Asia. Japan would thus cause confusion to global efforts calling on Iran not to develop nuclear weapons, and to strengthen the nonproliferation regime.

At the Nuclear Security Summit held in Seoul in March 2012, it was confirmed to strengthen controls of materials which can be used in nuclear weapons such as plutonium. On one hand, the Japanese Government is calling for the commencement of negotiations for a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, a treaty to stop production of weapons-purpose fissile materials And yet at the same time, Japan itself is moving to expand its production of plutonium whose use is unclear. This is a grave contradiction.

Japan, having experienced the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has consistently appealed for the speedy abolition of nuclear weapons. It is therefore all the more important for Japan to immediately cease any policies which would reverse international efforts to this end. We call upon the Japanese Government to cease its plans for reprocessing of spent fuel, and to formulate plans for measures to deal with spent fuel based on sufficient consideration of safety, transparency and cost.

April 30, 2012

This statement will be delivered to relevant Japanese Government agencies including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Environment and Industry, and the Atomic Energy Commission.
The involved NGOs are also planning follow-up discussions with the Japanese Government on this issue.

Co-Signatories

Akune Takeshi (Secretary-General, World Federalist Movement of Japan)
Ayukawa Yurika (Executive Director, Office Ecologist)
Ban Hideyuki (Co-Director, Citizens' Nuclear Information Center)
Daido Rosan (Monk, Zengenji Temple)
Fujikawa Yasushi (Chofu Gensuikin)
Fujimoto Yasunari (Secretary-General, Japan Congress against A- and H- Bombs (Gensuikin))
Hirano Taeko (Nagasaki Citizens' Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons)
Honda Hiroshi, (Professor, Faculty of Law, Hokkai Gakuen University)
Hoshikawa Jun (Executive Director, act beyond trust)
Kawai Kimiaki (Director, Soka Gakkai Peace Committee)
Kawasaki Akira (Executive Committee Member, Peace Boat)
Kikuchi Yumi (Co-founder, Global Peace Campaign / Co-founder and Director, Harmonics Life Center, Kamogawa Japan)
Matano Naoko (President, YWCA of Japan)
Morita Gen (Co-founder and Co-director, Harmonics Healing Hawaii)
Moritaki Haruko (Co-Director, Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition)
Naito Masayoshi (Board Member, Japan Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms)
Ogasawara Kimiko (Chair, Nuclear Issues Subcommittee of Kanagawa Parish, United Church of Christ Japan)
Okamoto Mitsuo (Director, Hiroshima Centre for Non-violence and Peace)
Sasamoto Jun, (Secretary General, Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association)
Sato Junichi (Executive Director, Greenpeace Japan)
Shitara Yoshiko (Co-Director, Women's Democratic Club)
Suda Minoru (Professor Emeritus, Ritsumeikan University)
Takahara Takao (International Peace Research Institute (PRIME), Meiji Gakuin University)
Tanaka Hideo (Kobe Citizens Group to Oppose Nuclear Power Plants Restart)
Tanaka Mie (Yame City Citizens Group to Oppose Nuclear Power Plants, Fukuoka)
Tanaka Terumi (Secretary-General, Japan Confederation of A- and H- Bombs Sufferers' Organizations)
Terao Terumi (Professor Emeritus, Nagoya Institute of Technology)
Tomonaga Masao (Organizing Committee Chair, Nagasaki Citizens' Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons)
Yuasa Ichiro (President, Peace Depot)

International Endorsers
John Burroughs (Executive Director, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, United States)
Oyunsuren Damdinsuren (Lecturer, National University of Mongolia, Mongolia)
Jim Green (National nuclear campaigner, Friends of the Earth, Australia)
John G. Maeland (Chair, Norwegian Physicians against Nuclear Weapons, Norway)
Arun Mitra (General Secretary, Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD), India)
Sophie Morel (Board member, Réseau Sortir du Nucléaire, France)
Reinhold Thiel (Board of Directors, IPPNW Germany)
Elizabeth Waterston (International Councillor, Medact, United Kingdom)

Contact:
Kawasaki Akira, Executive Committee Member, Peace Boat
kawasaki@peaceboat.gr.jp / +81-90-8310-5370

Meri Joyce, International Coordinator, Peace Boat
meri@peaceboat.gr.jp / +81-3-3363-8047

Download this statement as a pdf here.