The Japanese cabinet has submitted a recommendation to the Diet, the country’s parliament, for it to approve a $1 billion contribution to a multinational consortium building two light-water reactors in North Korea. Japan signed a contract on 3 May to provide funding for the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO).
The contract “holds an extremely important meaning for our national security,” said foreign minister Masahiko Koruma. “We are committed to actively engaging [North Korea] through the KEDO framework.” “We must, by promoting the light-water nuclear reactor project, prevent North Korea from obtaining a reason to resume its nuclear [weapons] development,” added chief cabinet secretary Hiromu Nonaka.
Japan is the second largest contributor to KEDO after South Korea, which is supplying $3.2 billion. The United States will contribute $155 million and the European Union $80 million.
A 1994 accord calls on North Korea to freeze and eventually dismantle its atomic weapons production facilities in exchange for the two modern reactors and fuel oil.