341. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the International Atomic Energy Agency1

102157. Following repeat London 7093 Action SecState Info Lon-don Apr 30.

Quote. Subject: Bilateral Nuclear Suppliers Consultations With Japan, April 27, 1977.

1. Japanese Del headed by Kobayashi opened meeting with statement he was instructed to make emphasizing necessity for Japan to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes to sustain economic growth. He indicated this necessity will be raised in bilaterals at the economic summit, pointing out that a Japanese full fuel cycle is an indispensable part of their nuclear program for peaceful purposes which in turn is essential to their being able to play expected role in world economic order. Kobayashi indicated they were encouraged by presidential statement at April 7 press conference2 which recognized necessity for certain countries to reprocess. But he expressed deep disappointment over subsequent explanation that this did not mean that U.S. would consent to reprocessing of U.S.-supplied fuel in Japan.

2. Japanese Del asked whether U.S. would treat Japan as a major ally and partner in global economic and political affairs, or like Pakistan, Brazil, Argentina, Kenya and even Uganda? He implored us to be consistent. If Japan were not allowed to proceed with reprocessing he said there would be bitter resentment among Japanese people, grave difficulties in Diet efforts to get IAEA safeguards agreement approved, questions regarding value of NPT adherence and continuing credibility of NPT, and a serious problem of de facto discrimination against Japan in favor of European countries, which could do harm to our traditionally cooperative relationship and to far east stability.

3. Nye replied that he would report GOJ views faithfully and elaborated on the April 7 presidential statement. He repeated U.S. position supporting current generation nuclear reactors, but stressing importance of examining alternative technologies before proceeding with plutonium economy.

4. Japanese Del was informed current bilateral difficulties regarding Tokai were occasioned by Article 8(c) of agreement of coopera[Page 863]tion,3 which required us either to give or refuse consent to an activity that we were not permitting in the U.S. In spite of this provision, presidential statement showed U.S. cognizance of Japanese energy needs. The small quantities of uranium recycled through Tokai would be insignificant relative to total Japanese energy requirements.

5. Nye reassured Japanese Del that U.S. viewed Japan as a major economic power and had no desire to restrict their energy needs. He explained Japanese role in INFCEP would be without prejudice to solution on Tokai issue.

6. Thorne (ERDA) explained budget steps being taken to implement U.S. non-proliferation objectives. A comprehensive program involving 750 million dollars with Fall 1978 target date identifies nuclear power options and alternatives with lower proliferation risks. Studies would include assessment of uranium and thorium reserves availability.

7. Japanese showed concern that INFCEP would a priori exclude reprocessing and prejudge conclusion of studies. A study over 3 or 4 years that did not produce an acceptable solution would place Japan in a difficult position. Nye acknowledged U.S. intent to include evaluation of reprocessing and that U.S. does not prejudge study outcomes. Japanese replied that economic and environmental aspects of reprocessing were domestic problems and that they were fairly certain that reprocessing could be safeguarded.

8. When asked, Kobayashi replied that Japan could go along with U.S. on Article 14 (sanctions). They were reluctant to make Article 9 (re consent to reprocessing) mandatory but would not block consensus on this. On Article 4 (full scope safeguards), they stated that requirement to meet safeguards duration requirements of GOV 16214 caused some problems when exporting small parts for countries already possessing reactors.

9. Nye provided explanation of presidential decision to issue MB–10s5 on a case-by-case basis based on demonstrated need, for example congested storage at reactor sites. Yamamoto subsequently called U.S. Del’s attention to the requirement for Japanese utilities to make a five percent deposit by the end of August in order to confirm contract to be negotiated by end of May for reprocessing in UK and [Page 864] French facilities beginning in 1982/3. He suggested that we agree to discuss the extent of need for MB–10 covering fuel envisioned under contract well before mid-August deadline for GOJ decision on commercial reprocessing contract, preferably in the course of follow-on Tokai consultations beginning in May.



  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770157–0816. Secret; Exdis; Priority. Drafted by Jane Coon (OES/NET/RD); cleared by Arthur Shankle (S/S); and approved by Louis Nosenzo (OES/NET).
  2. See footnote 3, Document 338.
  3. Reference is to the 1968 Japan-U.S. Nuclear Cooperation Agreement which required Japan to obtain advance approval from the U.S. Government for any international transfer of nuclear material of U.S. origin.
  4. Reference is to IAEA document GOV/1621.
  5. The Presidential Decision was not found. MB–10 refers to applications that nations must submit in order to obtain shipment-by-shipment approvals from the U.S. Government prior to transporting spent nuclear fuel to overseas reprocessors.