Ogata casts doubt on wisdom of exporting nuclear plant technology

March 24, 2012

By TSUTOMU ISHIAI / Correspondent

CAIRO--Veteran diplomat Sadako Ogata, president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has taken issue with the government's drive to export nuclear plant technology.

While prefacing her comment as her own personal opinion, Ogata, 84, said, "I wonder if it is appropriate to take technology that did not work well in one's own nation to the outside world."

She voiced her opinion during an interview with The Asahi Shimbun. Ogata will step down as JICA president at the end of this month.

The export of nuclear plant technology is being promoted by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, which was reorganized after being integrated with the JICA as well as departments that used to handle yen loans, and other government organizations.

Referring to the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant a year ago, Ogata said, "This occurred in a nation like Japan, where technology is advanced and which should have been cautious about nuclear energy based on its experience with Hiroshima and Nagasaki (both cities were leveled by atomic bombs in 1945). We have to admit that it was a failure."

Ogata wields considerable influence over foreign assistance and diplomacy, and her doubts about the wisdom of selling Japan's nuclear technology overseas will likely affect the government's export strategy.

She also indicated that Japan should place greater emphasis on alternative energy sources.

"Japan should think about various options as progress is made in power generation using solar, wind and geothermal sources," Ogata said.

Last October, seven months after the Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan signed a contract with Vietnam for the export of nuclear plant technology.

In the Middle East, Japan is seeking to win a contract in Jordan through a joint venture with France.

By TSUTOMU ISHIAI / Correspondent
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