SITUATION: Japan is advancing with plans to reprocess spent nuclear fuel and boost its external nuclear exports. These decisions will impact the conduct of Japanís global non-proliferation diplomacy.
ANALYSIS: Assessing the degree of salience to Tokyo of non-proliferation goals will be aided by monitoring its policy in two areas: its negotiating strategy in nuclear technology supply talks with other states, and especially India, and its management of its internal nuclear power program. Other aspects of its nuclear diplomacy, including pressure for North Korean disarmament and support for enhanced global nuclear security, are likely to remain robust.
External Trade Ambitions: Tokyo signalled its dedication to capturing a larger share of the international nuclear energy market by establishing a new export company, International Nuclear Energy Development of Japan Ltd (JINED), in October 2010. JINED is owned by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Several Japanese nuclear technology manufacturers (including Hitachi, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Toshiba) and electricity providers (including Chubu, Kansai and Tepco) are affiliates. This company will coordinate Japanese nuclear negotiations and exports, illuminating government intentions to integrate nuclear supply and service packages for the international market.
Japan is presently engaged in nuclear cooperation negotiations with Turkey, Vietnam, and India. Japanese diplomats are scheduled to meet with officials from the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources in early December. Ankara is seeking an international partner to assist in construction of a nuclear power plant at its planned Sinop site on the Black Sea coast.
Having been unsuccessful in pressuring South Korea to lower its proposed price for electricity provided from the reactors, Turkey has invited Japan to offer better conditions. The outcome of its negotiations with Japan will highlight the assessment of both Tokyo and Seoul of the importance of Turkeyís emerging nuclear energy market, in clarifying their willingness to offer a lower electricity price and reduced profits in order to obtain a foothold in Ankaraís nuclear program.
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung agreed on 31 October that Tokyo would assist Hanoi in building a second nuclear reactor in the Ninh Thuan region.
Indian Nuclear Negotiations: Although it agreed as a Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) member to exempt India from multilateral nuclear trade restrictions in 2008, Japan is yet to conclude a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement with India.
In previous rounds of negotiations, Japanese diplomats have sought to obtain a clear signal of movements toward a permanent ban on Indian nuclear testing. The adherence of New Delhi to this condition would significantly go beyond previous assurances in this area. In its diplomacy to secure the 2005 US-India agreement and Nuclear Suppliers Group exemption, New Delhi refused any linkage of civil nuclear cooperation terms to its military behavior in the agreement text. Instead, India offered a separate statement of vague support for global efforts to ban nuclear testing and end military fissile material production without firmly committing itself to these goals.
Access to Tokyoís nuclear expertise represents a valuable goal for New Delhi. In addition, major American nuclear firms - prominently, General Electric and Westinghouse - are owned or part-owned by Japanese companies. Further delays in agreeing terms for Japan-India civil nuclear cooperation could therefore also affect American entry into the Indian nuclear market. It remains to be seen if Japanese commitment to global nuclear risk reduction goals outweighs its commercial interests in participating in the lucrative Indian nuclear energy market.
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