An international delegation of scientists visited Japan in an effort to persuade political leaders there to abandon the nation’s civilian plutonium fuel-cycle program. The mid-January trip was organized by Princeton University professor Frank von Hippel, a long-time advocate of minimizing the world’s inventory of nuclear weapons–usable materials. In an interview, von Hippel said that he and two colleagues met with Goshi Hosono, Japan’s minister for the environment and for the restoration from and prevention of nuclear accidents, and, separately, with a dozen or so members of the Diet. Six of the lawmakers belonged to a caucus known as the DPJ Backend Study Group (DPJ stands for the governing Democratic Party of Japan). According to von Hippel and published reports, the 70-member study group has decided to oppose the further use of reprocessing in Japan.

But von Hippel says it appears that the Japanese administration remains committed to the use of...

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