Sectoral Analysis of the International Situation and Japan's Foreign Policy
Efforts toward the realization of a better global society
G. International cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear power and science and technology
a) Strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of the safeguards system by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
The IAEA has established a safeguards system to ensure that nuclear materials for peaceful purposes are not diverted for military use. However, suspicions of nuclear development in Iraq and North Korea prompted the IAEA to initiate considerations toward strengthening the effectiveness and improving the efficiency of the traditional safeguards system, resulting in adoption at a special IAEA 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. As of December 1999, 45 countries had signed the additional protocol, of which Japan, Australia and six other countries have put the protocol into force. The international community will have to address itself to expanding the number of signatory countries, strengthening safeguards, and improving efficiency of the safeguards system in order to reduce its financial burden.
b) 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. This plan was put into effect using the US$300 million which the G7 countries announced at the Denver Summit, as well as donations from other countries, and emergency repairs and a project named the Early Biddable Project, entailing the basic design work, are currently underway. However, with funding for the Implementation Plan still short of the total, finding the funds for further work has become an urgent task. As a member of the G7, Japan has provided funds for the Implementation Plan, as well as participated 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.
Science and technology is a basic component underpinning national security and economic and industrial activity, and as Japan aspires to become a nation founded on creativity in science and technology, the development of Japan's science and technology through international exchange forms a key element in foreign policy. Science and technology also plays a major role in resolving the various issues requiring joint efforts on the part of the international community, including the global environment, energy and health, and Japan is actively promoting international cooperation in this area. In recent years, international cooperation in science and technology has proved advantageous in many cases because of the scale it offers, as in the case of the International Space Station Programme.
a) Bilateral cooperation
Japan engages in information exchanges and consultations with related countries both on a regular basis and when critical issues emerge, while also advancing specific research cooperation. In terms of frameworks for such bilateral cooperation, Japan currently has agreements on scientific and technical cooperation with around 30 countries, and in January 1999, expanded this figure by concluding an agreement with Sweden. The satellite navigation and positioning system is a form of technology which is becoming increasingly important in, for example, ship and aircraft navigation, automobile navigation and mapping. Accordingly, at their September 1998 Summit Meeting, Japan and the United States announced their intention to actively promote utilization of the Global Positioning System (GPS), resulting in the holding of a working group meeting on GPS use in September 1999.
Space is one of the most progressive areas in terms of international science and technology cooperation, and Japan has been actively pursuing international cooperation in this regard. More specifically, under the Intergovernmental Agreement Concerning the International Space Station Cooperation, signed in January 1998 and concluded by Japan in November that year, Japan has been promoting the International Space Station Programme together with the United States, Canada, European countries and the Russian Federation toward completion of its assembly by 2004. Assembly of a Japanese Experiment Module, the Government of Japan Space Station Flight Elements, is to begin as of 2002.
Japan and the United States cooperate in such areas as Earth observation, exploration of Mars, and Japanese astronauts' participation in space shuttle activities, while Japan is also promoting cooperation with European and Asian countries in such areas as Earth observation and space communications.
In Vienna in July, the Third UN Conference on Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III) was held for the first time for around 17 years in the form of a special meeting of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. Japan's delegation was headed by Ambassador Yuji Ikeda of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna with related ministries also participating. The meeting comprised representatives from all member countries of the United Nations and also from international institutions, and examined issues such as the peaceful use of space, the use of space technology in resolving global environmental issues and resource issues, and the protection of the space environment, leading to the adoption of the Vienna Declaration.
c) Multilateral cooperation
In the area of life science, research fund subsidies are being provided for basic research on the brain functions and mechanisms of living organisms by the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) being implemented among the G7, etc., at the urging of Japan. As the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization celebrated the 10th anniversary of its establishment in 1999, commemorative events were held in July in Strasbourg, where the organization is based, and in December in Washington. The organization has disbursed around 422 research fund subsidies over the last decade.
Within the APEC framework, the 16th Industrial Science and Technology Working Group Meeting was held in March in Hong Kong, followed by the 17th Meeting in Seattle in August, in order to promote intra-regional science and technology exchange. Within the ASEM framework too, a Science and Technology Ministers' Meeting was held in October in Beijing at the urging of China.
Preventing the proliferation of scientists and engineers who were involved in research on weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union is a critical task from the standpoint of Japan's security, while utilization of their technology for civilian purposes is also valuable in terms of the development of Japan's science and technology. Japan has therefore actively supported the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), established by Japan, the United States, the EU and Russia in 1994 to offer research projects for peaceful purposes to these scientists and engineers. As part of additional funding to assist denuclearization and non-proliferation by Russia, announced by Prime Minister Obuchi at the June G8 Cologne Summit, Japan funded US$20 million to the ISTC in December, in addition to approximately US$31 million provided to date in support for around 110 projects.
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