In his recent visits abroad, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Turkey that will enable the export of Japanese nuclear power plant technology to them. The Abe administration is also pushing talks to facilitate the conclusion of similar agreements with Saudi Arabia and Brazil.
Mr. Abe is trying to promote the export of nuclear technology at a time when the nuclear crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant remains ongoing and many Fukushima residents still live in fear of exposure to radioactive substances released by the plant. Some 150,000 of them still cannot return to their homes and communities due to radioactive contamination. In addition, important questions concerning the cause of the Fukushima nuclear crisis have yet to be resolved despite the studies by investigation committees set up by the government and the Diet.
Mr. Abe also should realize that export of nuclear power plant technology could contribute to acceleration of nuclear proliferation as the same nuclear technology used to generate electricity can also be used to produce material for nuclear weapons. Mr. Abe must remember that Saudi Arabia has not signed an Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency — a document designed to enhance the international nuclear watchdog's ability to find undeclared nuclear-related activities and radioactive materials.