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Stop Indo-Japan Nuclear Deal: Why Manmohan’s ‘Love In Tokyo’ Is Not Prosperous For India

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By Mahitha Kasireddi:

This is the tale of two countries whose leaders are inconsiderate of their respective public views. While one nation has not learnt its lesson from the nature’s retaliation in reply to human arrogance, the other nation is prone to inviting the same fate knowingly due to sheer ignorance. The non-transparent high level international politics are beyond comprehension to laymen of both the countries whose health, life and future are at stake in name of economic progress, growth targets and foreign relations.

Indo JapanThe stalled civil nuclear agreement between India and Japan has lately picked up momentum. The Prime Ministers of the both the nation who talk in monetary terms have totally turned a deaf ear to the pleading Japanese citizens.

What baffles Indians is how Mr. Singh is showing confidence in their ‘technology’ despite Japanese themselves not depending on nuclear energy for the first time in 40 years. Japan has turned India’s power crisis advantageously into a market for its domestic nuclear power generation companies. In India no court, no government has shown concern for the consistent resistance and fear that people at Kundakulam have expressed. In Japan last year when the Liberal Democratic Party came to power, their new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wanted the re-processing of spent nuclear fuel. Two years after the horrific spate of cycle of disasters, the Japanese are now at the mercy of their pro-nuclear leader.

A major reason for the delay in activating the pact is due to Japan expressing reservations regarding the non-membership of India in NPT. The Japanese media seems to be pressing their government to persuade India to sign the NPT before venturing into a business. But, India is constantly insisting their commitment to the moratorium on nuclear testing. Well, this is a popular ranting by Indian representative which comes to play each time they enter into nuclear commitments with other nations. There is every possibility for Japan to go ahead with the negotiations for they have a huge current account deficit to be financed immediately. Two people sitting at a table discuss this way, by agreeing to this deal India would in turn be able to use Japanese technology in major infrastructure development. After 65 years of independence, India has failed to develop indigenous technology.

The argument of anti- nuclear activists of both the Asian countries to terminate the negotiations can be well supplemented by evidences of what Japanese are undergoing for no fault of their own. The Fukushima Dia-ichi accident has left damages not only to the present generation but is also posing threat to their posterity. The accident has affected all those living up to 60 miles from the plant. The entire area is now a ‘no-go’ region. Though most have evacuated, there are still people, specially the old who are left unattended. Since it is a radiation prone region, no leader visits them to listen to their grievances; no media person goes there to report their agony. The court in Japan has also rejected petitions favouring evacuation of people and children.

The most distressing and undesirable asperity of the nuclear disaster is food contamination. The soil of their land is now venomous with the radiation. For two years and counting, they had to absolutely discard the rice grown in their country by shifting to imported food. The farmers were not provided enough relief. The fish were also affected and consuming them would cost an irreparable damage. The food purchased from supermarket has to be tested for radiation. Every grocery store and supermarket had to install a radiation testing machine. But, one has to know that the radiation testing does not come for free. The cost of testing is augmented with cost of food thus spiralling up food inflation. Middle classes albeit do not mind paying high for the sake of their children’s health. People here admit going through a great deal of frustration on being vigilant about the food they eat every day. In the coming years the health policy in Japan would be in great peril.

When the Democratic Party of Japan was in power, their leader was anti- nuclear and encouraged renewable energy projects. Workers were going to start building wind farms and solar parks to re-paint their tainted air and make their country self sufficient by 2040. With the new party coming into power these projects have been snapped due to their nuclear interests. International interferences have made clear that the de-commissioning of the Fukushima Nuclear Plant would take 40 years. In fact a lot more scientific explanations are yet to be made to acknowledge and disclose hidden hazards which are not yet visible.

What pride does mastering technology give when lives are not guaranteed to be safe? These days whatever is technically possible seems to be valid. Despite the continued processions and protest by the Japanese people, the authority in their country, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has displayed complete disregard and disrespect to nature’s spirit and ecological balance. This disregard is even high from his counterpart in India. The Indian Prime Minister is depriving his nation’s citizens from the basic right to live in clean environment as constituted in Article 21. Nobody denies India’s demand for tremendous amount of power to accomplish growth and development targets but nuclear energy is certainly not the solution. Investments should be made in researching the renewable sources of energy.

India is a country where we worship the pancha boothas– wind, water, fire(sun), earth and sky. It would be blasphemy on our part to resort to pollute these sacred elements of worship which dictate our very existence. It is time the Indian Prime Minister realizes that his love in Tokyo isn’t bringing any prosperity to the nation and that he should not fall in the trap of Shinzo’s ‘Abenomics’. The deal is painting an impression upon onlookers because it visible more as a Singh-Shinzo agreement than an Indo- Japan agreement; it shall be scrapped vehemently.

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  1. Raj

    Fukishima was an old nuclear powerplant built in 1967 and commissioned in 1971 and even then somehow survived a massive earthquake and the following tsunami. It has till date killed ZERO people through radiation and may kill a few via cancer after a few decades(Although even this figure is lower if compared to a polluting coal fired plant). Compare that to the Methyl-IsoCynate leak in the Bhopal gas disaster that instantly killed a few 1000 people and over 20,000 in the long term. So let’s keep things in perspective here.

    The Japanese have pretty much restarted all their power plants once again, so they are relying on their own technology. They have to, they don’t have the luxury of a low-population density with abundance of “renewable resources” sources of energy like in Iceland .

    Nuclear power accounts for 25% of the total power generation in Japan whereas it contributes only 2.8% in India. I don’t think we can even compare the scale here.

    Now coming to the part about pollution, how exactly are nuclear power-plants highly polluting? They produce no greenhouse gases or pollutants, the only by-product is steam and the nuclear waste which is localized and takes up very little space to store. Contrast that with coal/oil fired plants that release carcinogens and greenhouse gases every second of the day. Or take hydroelectricity, which causes massive ecological damage and displaces thousands. Not to mention the rsik of dam-bursts that can potentially kill 1000s
    Others like wind and solar currently are too weak to provide energy at the rate we need.

    The future of nuclear energy is certainly going to be cold fusion. But to reach there, we need to master fission properly. I hope that the Govt. moves ahead with expanding nuclear power, but with the best and safest technologies it can find.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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