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Hibakusha angry about Indian pact

November 12, 2016


Nuclear pact with India draws anger from Hiroshima, Nagasaki hibakusha groups




The nuclear cooperation agreement concluded between Japan and India on Friday drew anger from people in the atomic-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In Tokyo, protesters held a rally in front of the Prime Minister’s Office over the pact, which will allow Japan to export nuclear power plants to India, a nonsignatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

“We hibakusha have called for eliminating nuclear weapons and abandoning nuclear power plants in order to prevent anybody from becoming new victims,” Kunihiko Sakuma, 72, chief of a group of hibakusha atomic bomb survivors called Hiroshima Hidankyo, said. “We hope that no nuclear plant will be exported.”

“If a nuclear accident occurs, India and neighboring countries will be affected,” he said, adding that it is good for Japan not to export any nuclear power plants and for India not to build any such facilities.

The government has held the public in derision, as the pact goes against domestic public opinions that oppose nuclear power plants, said Kazuo Okoshi, 76, head of Hiroshima Hidankyo’s secretariat.

It is “disgraceful” that Japan will sell a power plant that uses materials for atomic bombs even though it has not finished dealing with the consequences of the March 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., Okoshi said.

In Nagasaki, five hibakusha groups issued a message of protest that the nuclear pact is absolutely intolerable. The message asked why Japan, which has appealed for the abolition of nuclear weapons as the only atomic-bombed nation in the world, signed the agreement with India.

Participants to the Tokyo rally raised a banner saying, “Don’t sell any nuclear plant to India.” Many chanted slogans, such as “We reject the Japan-India pact.”

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