核安全サミット テロ防止に問われる管理強化

The Yomiuri Shimbun March 27, 2014
Reinforced management of nuclear materials needed to prevent terrorism
核安全サミット テロ防止に問われる管理強化(3月27日付・読売社説)

In confronting the threat of nuclear terrorism, it is essential for countries to cooperate to thoroughly manage nuclear materials.

The Nuclear Security Summit, attended by leaders of over 50 countries, including major industrial nations and emerging economies, was held in The Hague, and the leaders adopted a joint communique.

The joint communique places the highest priority on preventing nuclear materials from being acquired by terrorists. It urges countries to accept the guidance mapped out by the International Atomic Energy Agency concerning the protection of their nuclear materials and facilities.

According to the IAEA, in 2013 alone there were 146 cases in which nuclear materials or other radioactive materials were traded illegally, stolen or lost. As we cannot deny the possibility of nuclear terrorism, countries concerned must take effective measures in line with the IAEA guidance.

It is also important that the communique encourages countries to minimize their stocks of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and of separated plutonium, both of which can be used in nuclear weapons. This call is aimed at getting countries to hold down their stockpile of such materials and prevent nuclear materials from going into the hands of terrorists.

Any excess nuclear materials should be transported out of those countries and placed under the control of such nations as the United States, which is capable of disposing of such material responsibly.

In line with the purport of the communique, Italy, Belgium, South Korea and other countries have expressed their willingness to remove unnecessary plutonium and HEU from their countries.

Abe demonstrates resolve

Japan, for its part, has announced a bilateral agreement with the United States under which it will remove several hundred kilograms of HEU and plutonium used for the fast critical assembly at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and hand them over to the United States.

Such measures can be said to be in accord with the principles of the government, which has said the country “will not own plutonium for which no purpose has been set.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has shown his determination at the summit, saying “Japan has a responsibility to lead efforts to strengthen nuclear security” in light of its experience with the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

As Japan is the only country to have suffered atomic bombings in wartime and is also one with advanced technology in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, our country should take a proactive role in this field, too.

The Nuclear Security Summit started four years ago when U.S. President Barack Obama advocated a goal of realizing a nuclear-free world. Since then, the summit has borne definite fruit, for instance, in the prevention of nuclear terrorism. Yet it is problematic that there has been little progress in the reduction of nuclear arms themselves.

It is worrisome that among the five countries allowed to possess nuclear arms under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia—only China is believed to be increasing its stockpile of nuclear weapons.

China must stop its military buildup with nuclear arms, which has been a destabilizing factor for the world’s nuclear security environment, and reduce its nuclear arms together with other nuclear powers.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 27, 2014)
(2014年3月27日01時29分  読売新聞)

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