ByÂ 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.
The 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.