Chapter II.
Sectoral Analysis of the International Situation and Japan's Foreign Policy

Section 3.
Efforts toward the realization of a better global society

F. International cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear power and science and technology

a) Peaceful use of nuclear power

  • Strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of the safeguards system by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

    The IAEA has developed a safeguards system to ensure that nuclear materials for peaceful uses are not diverted to military uses. Suspicions of nuclear development in the Republic of Iraq and North Korea prompted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to initiate considerations toward strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of the current safeguards system, resulting in adoption at a special Board of Governors meeting in May 1997 of a model additional protocol to strengthen the safeguards agreements which the various countries have concluded with the IAEA. This additional protocol expands the information provided to the IAEA and provides complementary access to the IAEA. The Government of Japan signed this additional protocol in December 1998, but the international community will have to address itself in years to come to expanding the number of signatory countries.

  • Chernobyl Shelter Implementation Plan

    Unit 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, which exploded in 1986, was plugged with materials such as concrete immediately after the accident as a temporary measure, creating a "shelter." As this "shelter" has deteriorated in recent years and is now in a critical situation, the approximately US$758 million Chernobyl Shelter Implementation Plan was created in June 1997 toward repair of the current structure and construction of a new shelter, and the G7 countries announced at the Denver Summit that US$300 million would be donated toward implementation of the plan. In December 1997, the Chernobyl Shelter Fund was also established by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) toward plan implementation. An initial project named the Early Biddable Project, entailing the basic design work, is currently underway. Japan has been providing funds for the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, as well as participating in the International Advisory Group set up to provide expert advice on progress with the shelter plan. Japan is also contributing substantially to promotion of the plan through, for example, the participation of Japanese companies in implementation of the Early Biddable Project.

b) Cooperation in science and technology

Scientific and technological progress plays a major role not just in development of the world economy but also in resolving the various issues the international community is facing today, including environment, energy and food-related issues. At the same time, it is necessary to amass outstanding science and technology through international cooperation for this progress. Japan, which has attained the world's highest standards in the field of science and technology, is expected to continue to make a contribution commensurate with these capabilities.

At present, Japan has agreements on scientific and technological cooperation with around 30 countries, and regularly holds bilateral meetings with these and other countries. In September 1998, Japan held its first meeting with Finland and with the Netherlands. Japan also engages actively in exchanges of views and information with other countries on state-of-the-art science and technology. For example, the satellite navigation and positioning system is a form of technology which is becoming increasingly important in a wide range of areas, including ship and aircraft navigation, car navigation and mapping; and at their September Summit, Japan and the United States released a joint statement on bilateral cooperation in utilization of the Global Positioning System (GPS), establishing working groups in the various areas of GPS use.

With regard to multilateral science and technology cooperation, the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), set up by Japan, the United States, the EU and the Russian Federation to offer research projects for peaceful purposes to scientists and engineers who were involved in programs for weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union, has to date committed around US$19 billion in support for 651 projects (with Japan providing US$28.4 million for 106 projects). The ISTC has shouldered part of the Hashimoto-Yeltsin Plan for support of Russia's transition to democracy and a market economy. Moreover, research fund subsidies are being provided for basic research on brain functions and mechanisms of living organisms as part of the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) being implemented among the G7 countries, etc., at the urging of Japan, and events commemorating the 10th anniversary of establishment of the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) were held in Tokyo in December 1998.

Within the APEC framework too, the 14th Industrial Science and Technology Working Group Meeting was held in March 1998, the Science and Technology Ministers' Meeting in October. Preparations are also moving forward within the ASEM framework toward holding a Science and Technology Ministers' Meeting in October 1999.

In the area of space development, in October, astronaut Chiaki Mukai went into space in the Space Shuttle Discovery in October, conducting on-going experiments as part of the neurolab mission. In addition, to advance the International Space Station plan together with the United States, Canada, the European countries and the Russian Federation, Japan signed the Intergovernmental Agreement on Space Station Cooperation in January, and accepted this agreement in November, a step ahead of other countries. Construction has been launched toward completion of the International Space Station by 2004, including the November launching of a Russian module. Construction of a Japanese Experiment Module, the GOJ Space Station Flight Elements, is to begin as of 2001.

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