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Cablegate: Doe Deputy U/S Aoki Discussions with Goj On


DE RUEHKO #0152/01 0252244
O 252244Z JAN 10




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary. During meetings with DOE Deputy Under
Secretary for Counterterrorism Steven Aoki January 20-22, GOJ
officials discussed Japan's expected role at the Nuclear
Security Summit, and reaffirmed their intent to expand
bilateral cooperation on nuclear safeguards and security
technology, as declared in the U.S.-Japan Joint Statement
last November. Discussions with several ministries and
specialized agencies also revealed what appeared to be
incremental progress in strengthening the security of nuclear
facilities in Japan. One surprising development was a clear
statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) that
it would support a bilateral arrangement for the sharing of
classified or other sensitive information on nuclear and
radiological security. On another issue of longstanding U.S.
interest, the Cabinet Office responded favorably to a
proposal to deepen bilateral cooperation on emergency
response, including measures aimed at responding to potential
nuclear/radiological terrorist threats. End summary.

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Nuclear Security Summit

2. (SBU) In a meeting January 20, MOFA Director General for
Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Toshio Sano told
Aoki, who was in Tokyo for an International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) seminar on strengthening nuclear security in
Asia, that Japan was planning for the Prime Minister to
attend the Nuclear Security Summit in April. Many of DG
Sano's questions were directed towards planning for the Prime
Minister's attendance. In addition, he noted that Japan had
submitted two comments on the draft communique and work plan:
one on making sure language enabled and did not hinder
peaceful uses and one on personnel. He asked about the
schedule for receipt of a revised communique/work plan prior
to the February meeting in The Hague and said he hoped both
documents could be finished at that time.

3. (SBU) Sano also asked about the Summit relative to the
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference
(RevCon), indicating that he thought the Summit could be used
to influence the RevCon. In reply, del noted the intention
was to keep the Summit separate and narrowly focused so as
not to be viewed as a precursor to the RevCon, or as a
mechanism to pre-work RevCon issues, although the U.S. hopes
positive momentum from the Summit will carry over to the

4. (SBU) Referring to his meeting with White House WMD
Coordinator Gary Samore in December, Sano said he had not
been able to provide complete information regarding what
Japan is doing domestically to secure nuclear materials, and
went on to describe improvements that Japan has made since
9/11. He pointed out that close ties now exist between
Japanese Government regulators and industry on security.
With the likely usage of mixed oxide (MOX) fuel by all of the
Japanese utilities, the Government has decided to require all
nuclear reactors, in addition to Japan's fuel cycle
facilities, to receive 24/7 protection from on-site armed
police officers reinforced by Coast Guard patrols offshore.
Japanese laws were revised in 2005 to comply with
INFCIRC/225/Revision 4, establishing domestic requirements
for a design basis threat, a physical protection inspection
system, and information confidentiality. Moreover, Japan is
conducting security exercises and implementing a radioisotope
export licensing system and registration system. Aoki made
the point that while the steps Sano described were all
positive, perception still lags reality and the Summit would
be an opportunity for Japan to go on record regarding its
efforts to improve the security of its nuclear power program.
While Aoki referred several times to the idea of making
announcements at the Summit, Sano remained noncommittal.
(Note: Before Aoki's arrival in Japan, Sano told embassy
officials (reftel) that Japan did not see the Summit as a
"pledge" conference and was not planning to make any
announcement regarding security at Japanese nuclear
facilities. In his meeting with Aoki, however, Sano did not
repeat this message, even though Aoki brought up the point
about announcements throughout the conversation. End note.)

5. (SBU) In a subsequent informal conversation on the
margins of the IAEA seminar, Sano told Aoki that he had been
tasked with identifying deliverables for the Summit. He had
already decided to put forward the cooperative activities on

safeguards and security identified in the Obama-Hatoyama
statement and a Japanese offer to host a regional training
center for nuclear security experts. Aoki suggested that a
comprehensive overview of Japanese actions to improve
physical protection standards and agreements on research
reactor fuel conversion could constitute another deliverable.

Cabinet Office Support for Summit, Emergency Response

6. (SBU) In a meeting January 22, Deputy Chief Cabinet
Secretary for Crisis Management Ito told Aoki that Japan is
actively preparing for the Nuclear Security Summit and will
do whatever it can to support it. Aoki expressed
appreciation for Japan's leadership role for the Summit and
noted the U.S. looks forward to deepening cooperation on
security and counterterrorism issues. Ito said Japan
acknowledges the nuclear terrorism threat is real and Japan
wants to work with the U.S. on counterterrorism and emergency
response. In the meeting with Ito, as well as in earlier
discussions with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports,
Science and Technology (MEXT), the Nuclear and Industrial
Safety Agency (NISA), and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency
(JAEA), Aoki reiterated the U.S. offer to hold joint
workshops and exercises on nuclear/radiological emergency
response. Aoki said Japanese officials would be welcome to
observe U.S. exercises at the national, regional and facility
level. Ito recalled that the Cabinet Office had planned to
send observers to the Empire 09 exercise last June, but the
officials had been forced to remain in Japan to deal with the
H1N1 outbreak last spring. Aoki briefly described the U.S.
proposal, originally made in 2007, to hold a workshop in
Japan in which U.S. experts could demonstrate
nuclear/radiological search equipment and techniques. He
went on to say that, while it had not been possible to hold
the workshop, the U.S. offer still stands. Ito responded
that he would look into what had prevented Japan from
accepting the U.S. offer and Aoki promised to write Ito a
letter describing the workshop proposal in more detail,
together with any offer the U.S. could make for Japanese
observers to attend a future U.S. exercise.

Nuclear Security in Japan: Incremental, but significant

7. (SBU) In contrast to previous occasions, when GOJ
officials had given a somewhat defensive response to pressure
on nuclear security issues, there now seems to be a much
greater sense of ownership of the nuclear security agenda on
the part of Japanese Government agencies. Aoki's meetings
with DG Sano and with other ministries all revealed
incremental, but possibly significant, changes in the
security posture at Japanese facilities. Using the
introduction of MOX as a forcing function, Japan has decided
that all power reactors must adopt security measures
previously reserved for fuel cycle facilities, including 24/7
armed police and Coast Guard presence. Officials of NISA, in
the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, on January 22
appeared comfortable acknowledging the need for armed
response forces, and posting police on-site at nuclear
facilities achieves that without requiring fundamental
changes in Japanese law barring the possession of firearms by
private entities.

8. (SBU) There were also numerous signs that Japan is making
positive changes in how government bodies coordinate on
nuclear security matters. In their January 22 meeting, NISA
Deputy Director General for Industrial Safety Shingo Naito
told Aoki that Japan is enhancing coordination among
regulatory bodies, security organizations, and facility
operators. In one indication of the enhanced coordination,
Naito said he himself is a former official of the National
Police Agency. The previous day, Shintaro Mitarai, Director
General for Nuclear Security in the Japan Nuclear Energy
Safety Agency (JNES), which provides technical support to
NISA, told Aoki that he, too, is a former police official.

9. (SBU) In his meetings with both NISA and JNES, Aoki
stressed the U.S. interest in continuing to expand
cooperation with Japan and noted that one area of particular
interest is physical protection performance testing and field
exercises. NISA official Shin-ichi Motegi on January 22

explained that in the system instituted under Japan's revised
national law, regulators conduct inspections annually to
check compliance with regulations and that training and
exercises are also carried out. He referred briefly to one
performance exercise conducted last October, which included
coordination with local police. However, he acknowledged
that Japan needs to conduct such exercises more widely at its
nuclear facilities.

Information Sharing

10. (SBU) In contrast to previous discussions, DG Sano
indicated MOFA would support the U.S. and Japan concluding an
agreement that would allow bilateral exchanges with key
technical agencies in Japan involving classified or other
sensitive information on physical protection. Aoki
referenced this MOFA position on January 21 while meeting
with MEXT Deputy Minister Yasutaka Moriguchi and on January
22 with NISA. Both ministries indicated they would follow up
with MOFA, with NISA in particular commenting they were
unaware of what might have caused MOFA to reconsider its
previous position that information exchanges should be done
under existing mechanisms.

Expanding Nonproliferation, Security Cooperation

11. (SBU) In his meeting with Aoki on January 21, MEXT
Deputy Minister Moriguchi reaffirmed his ministry's interest
in expanding cooperation on nuclear detection technology,
forensics, nonproliferation and security. Describing MEXT's
priorities in this area, Moriguchi reiterated the proposal he
made last October to NNSA Administrator Thomas D'Agostino,
which included joint development of technologies for
nondestructive assay of plutonium in spent fuel, ultra-trace
isotopic measurements, and plutonium in-process monitoring.
With the proposal having been endorsed by the President and
Prime Minister last November, it remained for the experts to
work out details. To that end, a team from MEXT and JAEA
will visit Washington and Los Alamos in February to flesh out
specific themes for increased cooperation. Moriguchi
stressed that MEXT wants to make real contributions at the
technical level in advanced safeguards technology and
forensics. He said MEXT has sought funding to support
expanded cooperation in the fiscal year 2010 budget that the
Diet will be debating soon and he had "no doubt" the funds
would be approved since the Prime Minister had already given
his approval.

12. (SBU) Moriguchi also noted MEXT's interest in
collaborating, in coordination with the IAEA, to offer
additional training and assistance for human resource
development in countries with emerging nuclear power
programs. In a separate meeting, JAEA Executive Director
Sohei Okada described human resources development as
"especially important," saying Japan "definitely" wants to
see that on the agenda for the upcoming meetings in the U.S.
on safeguards cooperation. (Note: The Japanese emphasis on
human factors and capacity building seemed to reflect a high
level of concern about the ability of regulators in nearby
countries -- e.g., China, Vietnam -- to perform, and a
corresponding interest in helping with training and other
human capital issues. End note.)

Research Reactor Reduced Enrichment

13. (SBU) Moriguchi took the opportunity to raise MEXT's
concern about the disposition of fuel at the Yayoi research
reactor. He noted that discussions with DOE and the Savannah
River Site had not resulted in much progress and he asked
Aoki to look into the matter. Aoki responded that, first,
the U.S. and Japan had done a lot in the area of research
reactor conversion and return of U.S.-origin fuel. He
suggested Japan might want to consider announcing at an
appropriate time, possibly at the Summit, the conversion of a
critical assembly in Kyoto. As for Yayoi, Aoki countered
that he understood there were real technical obstacles that
prevented the material being shipped to Savannah River. He
stressed that the USG wants the effort to succeed and DOE
will continue to work with Japan to find a solution. Options
that have been considered included down blending the

material, in Japan or in a third country. Ultimately, Aoki
added, the solution may come down to resources. MEXT agreed
to look at providing funds to support disposition, but asked
the U.S. to have another look at the technical feasibility of
returning the fuel to the U.S.

Cradle to Grave

14. (SBU) In his meetings with DG Sano on January 20 and
with Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Shunsuke Kondo on
January 22, Aoki gave an update on current U.S. thinking
about the cradle to grave nuclear fuel management concept.
He stressed that the USG did not intend this as a challenge
to states like Japan with existing fuel cycle programs. Aoki
noted that U.S. internal deliberations were still in
relatively early stages. Kondo discussed a formulation that
would call for "user countries" to hold ownership stakes in
regional fuel centers that would provide assurance of supply.

15. This cable was cleared by Deputy Under Secretary Aoki
prior to his departure from Tokyo.


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