On 16 October 2015, Reaching Critical Will’s Director Ray Acheson delivered the following statement to the UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security.
Recent media reports suggest that all is not well within the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). Scientists have reportedly written to the Prime Minister seeking intervention in the management of the Centre. Their complaints mostly revolve around internal matters such as harassment and promotions, but an important revelation should be of public concern. One scientist has reportedly alleged that his supervisor had directed that effluents from the reprocessing plant be released into sea with radioactivity levels much higher than permissible limits. Absent transparent inquiry, we cannot ascertain the veracity of this allegation, but there is a historical basis for taking this seriously and be concerned.
On August 9, 2011—66 years after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki but only about five months after the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant—Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue observed that, until Fukushima, many people had believed in the myth of safety at nuclear power plants. “But what about the more than 20,000 nuclear weapons in the world?” asked Taue. “Do we still believe that the world is safer thanks to nuclear deterrence? Do we still take it for granted that no nuclear weapons will ever be used again?”
The unique status of Japan, as a country with no active military, stands to be diluted today as the right-wing PM Shinzo Abe is going to bring security laws in the parliament undermining the Article-9 of the Japanese constitution that prohibits it from keeping an army and resorting to belligerence in international affairs.