Concerns spread as a provision on 'national security objectives' was added to the Atomic Energy Basic Act. People worry about a possible 'military use' of nuclear power. Japan has nuclear fuel reprocessing plants and possesses a big amount of plutonium, being a potential nuclear power. The provision must be deleted so that evils may not be left to coming generations.
LET'S URGE PARLIAMENT TO DELETE SECURITY CLAUSE NEXT YEAR'S SESSION!
The Atomic Energy Basic Act proclaims a peaceful use of nuclear energy, based on the three principles of openness to the public, democracy and independence. It stipulates basic policies on research, development and use of atomic energy, constituting the very basis of Japan's non-nuclear three principles that Japan forbids production, possession and entry of nuclear weapons.
Junior Laws Override Superior Laws
A grave alternation was made recently by a shrewd way; a clause was incorporated in to the Annex of the Act on Establishment of Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which was approved by the Diet on June 20, that 'nuclear power shall contribute to Japan's national security'. The provision was, subsequently, added to the Basic Act. That means a path is open for nuclear energy to be used for a military purpose.
The controversial change was made in the same way as the Self Defense Forces Act undermines the peace principles of Constitution. The inferior law intrudes into the superior law to take the backbone out of fundamental rule.
A sentence that 'nuclear power shall contribute to national security' was not found in the original draft bill on Establishment of Nuclear Regulatory Commission which was presented by the government. But in the process of arrangements and rectifications joined by the three parties of ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the opposition parties, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito, the LDP made a proposal. It demanded to incorporate the clause pursuant to 'the draft compiled by the LDP and New Komeito', which had been submitted to the House of Representatives before the three-party talks. The LDP's idea was, reportedly, accepted without conflict.
A deal behind the closed door was made again subsequently after the consumption tax rate hike. The three parties agreed in the secret negotiation to rewrite the bill on Establishment of Nuclear Regulatory Commission and then the Atomic Energy Basic Act.
New Text Takes on Completely Different Meaning
The bill was submitted in the name of President, Environment Committee of the Lower House, to the Diet after the rectification. Members of the LDP and New Komeito on the committee explain: the provision simply means a safeguard clause of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to prevent illicit uses of nuclear substances, including a purpose of military or terrorist action'.
A standard dictionary, which is broadly used in the country, Kojien, explains about security as 'to guarantee safety of the state and people from external aggressions'. Security has a meaning and safeguard has another, and the two concepts are quite different.
If the clause 'indicates safeguard' as the opposition politicians say, the right word is 'safeguard'. The term 'security' cannot be used as it implies a military context. In fact, mass media in South Korea, responding to the revised Atomic Energy Basic Act, put articles to express anxieties. They fear of Japan's nuclear armament.
MP Hattori Ryoichi (Social-Democratic Party) of the Lower House presented a letter of inquiry, asking about the additional clause on security. The government replied in the form of a cabinet decision that 'the article does not impact on the existing policy limiting research, development and use of nuclear energy strictly to a peaceful use'.
Why, then, was the phrase national security employed in the provision? There was no need to do so. The government should delete it or replace with the term safeguard in the next parliamentary session, if an addendum cannot be turned back during a single Diet session. The legislative organ must not leave evils to the coming generations.
JAXA Act Revised, Too
On the same day, June 20, was revised, too, the Act on Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). A provision was deleted; 'activities of JAXA are limited to a peaceful objective'. The change means that space development efforts may serve a military mission.
The Basic Law on Space, called a constitution of space development, has a provision that 'space development shall contribute to national security'. Some experts point out the amendment in the JAXA law is triggered from this context.
July 17, 2012