The nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant might delay the civil nuclear agreement between India and Japan, but it will definitely go through, said Akitaka Saiki, Japanese ambassador to India.
"We have been informally communicating with our Indian counterparts on what to do with the negotiations in the coming months. But it doesn't mean we will cancel the agreement. We have a common goal in concluding the treaty on both sides," said Saiki.
When asked about Japan's negotiations with India on civil nuclear deal despite the latter not having signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as well as the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Saiki said, ""Our policy is to ask more and more countries to sign, but at the same time Japan cannot dictate, the decision has to be taken by the individual country."
On Monday, Saiki who was at the Observer Research Foundation delivered a lecture on the Japanese situation after the earthquake and tsunami that hit the country last month. On a three-day visit to Mumbai, Saiki said the decision to opt for nuclear power must be taken scientifically and not emotionally.
"There are sentiments among residents on not wanting reactors in their backyard. It's the same situation in India as well. But, we need constant power supply and we have to find a compromise," said Saiki.
Saiki said Japan was not prepared for a tsunami of this level. In fact, a few days prior to the disaster, the government had projected that Japan would rely on 37% nuclear power by 2014 and 41% by 2019 - from the present 29%. "We need to review our policy now. We are not saying we will divert to other sources because Japan cannot afford to import petrol or coal for power generation," said Saiki.
"Whether to rely on nuclear power is not the problem. The problem is safety and our scientists and engineers will have no hesitation to learn from other countries."
Saiki said: "The levels of radiation in Fukushima are not equivalent to Chernobyl. There is no meltdown in Japan."