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Thursday, May 12, 2011
Nuclear safety and disarmament
On April 30, foreign ministers from 10 nonnuclear weapons states — Japan, Australia, Germany, Canada, Chile, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates — gathered in Berlin and issued a statement reaffirming their joint intention to "work toward achieving nuclear disarmament and a stronger international nonproliferation regime." Their first meeting had been held in New York in September 2010 at Japan and Australia's initiative.
In Berlin, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said "we have seen very little practical work done" one year after the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference in New York. Nuclear weapons states should positively respond to the foreign ministers' call for full-scale negotiations for a treaty to ban the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons and to have the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty take effect.
The foreign ministers applied the concept of reducing nuclear risks to both nuclear weapons problems and problems in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
In view of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, they called for "elevating the safety of nuclear power plants to the highest level and strengthening nuclear safety measures worldwide."
It is highly regrettable that Japan has caused nuclear accidents rated at the highest severity level on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto said that Japan has now entered a stage where it aims to end the nuclear crisis methodically.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the use of nuclear energy requires transparency and the development of safety standards.
Japan has the international obligation to thoroughly examine why the Fukushima accidents occurred, what went wrong in handling them and whether there were errors in reactor designs. It must establish a strong, independent investigatory commission and keep safe all raw information and documents. It then must disclose all relevant information.