CONTACT
U.S.: Michael Leonardi, Coalition Against Nukes, 567-202-5327; mikeleonardi@hotmail.com
India: Kumar Sundaram, 91-9819556134 or SKYPE: pksundaram; message on Facebook

NUCLEAR GANDHI

International Nonviolent Protests of Proposed Japan – India Nuclear Deal Grow Despite Government’s Violent Opposition

The Coalition Against Nukes and its international membership has stepped forward to support the protest currently being raised against Japan’s attempt to export nuclear technology to India. Specifically, an international petition to raise influential voices against this wrong-headed move has quickly gained more than fifteen hundred signatures as it continues to grow daily. Protest demonstrations are planned in Tokyo and across India. The India-Japan nuclear agreement is currently under negotiation, with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singhis visiting Tokyo on May 27 in an attempt to further the deal.

Increasingly, this struggle has been seen by many as a “Nuclear Gandhi” movement, involving non-violent resistance, hunger strikes, and oppression of a protesting population by a dominant, non-responsive government. More than 10,000 Indian citizens have been arrested for sedition for their peaceful protests.

A committed group of activists, experts and citizens in Japan, India and other countries launched this petition as a means of making their concerns known. The appeal has been endorsed by eminent citizens, including academicians, artists, scientists, film-makers and other public figures from India, Japan, US, France, Germany, Australia and a dozen other countries.

Since Japanese nuclear technology is used in large nuclear reactors made in the United States and France, it is difficult for India to import nuclear reactors from these countries unless it strikes a nuclear deal with Japan. To remove the obstacles to their export of nuclear technology to India, Washington and Paris have been unofficially urging Tokyo to conclude a nuclear deal with New Delhi.

The petition calls for termination of India-Japan nuclear negotiations, as its implementation would lead to expansion of nuclear installations in India. This in turn would mean more displacement of homes and families, loss of livelihoods and radiation risks for the Indian farmers and fishermen who have been leading massive resistance to proposed plants in Koodankulam and Chutka, among others. These protests intensified after the Fukushima nuclear disaster began on March 11, 2011, and the Indian government has responded with increasingly violent repression of the non-violent protestors.

The appeal also criticizes the absurdity of Japan’s policy of exporting nuclear technology to India and other countries when their problems from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster continue to mount with no end in sight. This advancement of Japan’s nuclear agenda is seen as a way for the country to compensate for the huge, ongoing financial losses incurred in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

The Coalition Against Nukes (CAN) urges the global community to support these voices of sanity and demand termination of the India-Japan nuclear agreement. We also demand a moratorium on Japan’s nuclear export policy until and unless they can solve their own nuclear problems at Fukushima.