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|June 16, 1998||
Japan refuses to lift sanctions because of Maruti deal
Japan has made it clear that it had no intention to lift economic sanctions, imposed against India after its nuclear tests, as a quid pro quofor the Maruti agreement.
In an interview to a leading Indian television channel, Japanese Ambassador to New Delhi Hiroshi Hirabayashi said, ''The Maruti problem, having been solved, is an enouraging element for bilateral investment and trade between the two countries. However, this is one thing and nuclear tesing and how to discuss its aftermath is completely different.''
He said the two issues were not to be linked and should not be linked, setting at rest speculation that Industry Minister Sikandar Bakht evolved an out of court settlement between Maruti Udyog Limited and Suzuki Motor Corporation to neutralise Japan's anger over India's nuclear tests.
The ambassador asserted that Japan had ''no intention to take back punitive sanctions against India... So what if Bakht has sorted out Maruti, the most high-profile corporate war in recent times.''
Hirabayashi said Indian citizens should sympathise why Japan had to impose sanctions against this country. ''The sanctions by the US are very much wide-ranging on a broader spectrum. Japanese measures are limited to economic assistance. Secondly, the US measures are imposed by legislation and ours by the voice of the Japanese tax payers,'' he said.
The ambassador said, ''Something should be done in participating in the area of Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty without precondition, participating eventually in the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and the commitment of India (and Pakistan) not to go into weaponisation and refrain from making delivery systems.''
He recalled that Japan first limited its ''economic measures'' to just $ 30 million. But the second round of tests on May 13 hardened the mood against India.
''When we received the news of the second blast, the Japanese government was really upset. The Japanese people were outraged. While we were asking the Indian government to refrain from further testing, we received the news of the second blast. Then the Japanese government imposed, very much reluctantly, the second measure which includes the soft loan area,'' he said.
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