Diplomatic Bluebook 2001


F. International Cooperation for the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy and Japan's Science and Technology Cooperation

1. The Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy

a) Strengthening and Improving the Efficiency of International Atomic Energy Agency Safeguards

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has established a safeguards system, which includes verification inspections, to ensure that nuclear materials for peaceful purposes are not diverted to military use. In 1997, the IAEA adopted a model additional protocol to strengthen its existing safeguards. As of December 2000, 53 countries had signed additional protocols with the IAEA, and these had come into force in 18 countries including Japan. Japan is pursuing diverse efforts, for example, by proposing specific policies for the Action Plan to increase the number of contracting parties to the protocols in accordance with the conclusions reached at the 2000 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.

b) Closure of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

Immediately after the accident of 1986 in Unit 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the remains of the destroyed reactor were covered in shelter as an emergency measure. Since this shelter was in danger of collapse, the Shelter Implementation Plan (SIP) was drawn up. Financial contributions to ensure full implementation of the SIP have become an urgent matter of concern to the international community.

At the Second Pledging Conference for the Chernobyl Shelter Fund held in Berlin in July, Japan, together with Germany, actively made joint demarches to all concerned countries to provide the necessary contributions. As a result of these efforts, a total of about US$320 million in new pledges were announced by the G7, the European Community (EC), and 13 other countries. Combined with the previously pledged contributions, a total of about US$715 million is now available for the SIP, covering more than 90 percent of the total cost (approximately US$760 million).

In response to this cooperation from the international community, on December 15 Ukraine permanently closed the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. This closure will bring about a new set of challenges such as the development of substitute power resources and relief measures for discharged plant workers. In cooperation with the other G7 members, Japan will continue to provide assistance to Ukraine to help resolve these problems.

2. Japan's Science and Technology Cooperation

Science and technology is a basic component underpinning national security and economic and industrial activities, and plays a major role in resolving common issues challenging the international community, such as the global environment, energy, health, and sanitation. In recent years, international science and technology cooperation has also proved advantageous in many cases because of the scale it offers, as in the case of the International Space Station Programme.

As Japan aims to become a "nation based on the creativity of science and technology," the development of Japan's science and technology by international exchanges is of particular importance. Thus, Japan will continue to vigorously promote international cooperation in the field of science and technology.

Specifically, Japan engages in information exchanges and consultations with relevant countries regularly, including when critical issues emerge, while advancing specific cooperative research projects. As for bilateral cooperation, Japan currently has science and technology cooperation agreements with around 30 countries, and the work under these agreements is primarily being promoted through joint committee meetings, such as the Japan-U.S. meeting held in May. Other meetings held during 2000 include joint committee meetings with the United Kingdom, the Republic of Korea (ROK), France, Canada, and Sweden as well as a forum with the European Union.

d) Space

Space development is one of the most advanced areas in terms of international science and technology cooperation. Japan has been promoting the International Space Station Programme together with the United States, Canada, European countries, and Russia toward completing its assembly by 2006. In July, Russia launched the Zvezda (Star) habitation module, and astronauts began their regular activities on the International Space Station from December. On its part, Japan will begin the construction of the Japanese Experiment Module from 2004.

Japan and the United States cooperate in such areas as Earth observation, the observation of other celestial bodies, and the participation of Japanese astronauts in space shuttle activities. In February, Japanese astronaut Mamoru Mohri served as a crew member for the second time when he boarded the space shuttle Endeavor, and in October, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata boarded the space shuttle Discovery and participated in the assembly of the International Space Station. Japan is also cooperating with Russia and European and Asian countries in such areas as Earth observation and space communications. In January, the Japan-Russia Joint Committee on Cooperation in Space held its second meeting in Moscow in accordance with the bilateral space cooperation agreement.

It is also important to ensure that science and technology is applied appropriately, and does not pose a threat to the international community, especially from the perspective of maintaining the security of Japan and the international community as a whole. For example, the ongoing exodus of scientists and engineers who were formerly employed in research on weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union since the end of the Cold War has become an issue of great concern to the international community. In response, Japan has been providing these scientists and engineers with opportunities to be employed in civilian research projects. To promote this transition from military to civilian employment, Japan has been providing active support to the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), which was established in 1994 by Japan, the United States, the European Union, and Russia. To date, Japan has donated a total of over US$316 million to the ISTC for about 1,150 projects employing a total of more than 33,000 scientists and engineers.

Japan is also advancing multilateral science and technology cooperation through diverse frameworks including Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

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