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Christmas Island (Nuclear Tests)

Volume 656: debated on Monday 26 March 1962

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11.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what assurances were given to the Japanese Ambassador on 9th February regarding the danger to Japanese citizens in the event of a nuclear test on Christmas Island.

The Ambassador was assured that all possible precautions would be taken in regard to any nuclear tests to be conducted in the atmosphere in the Christmas Island area.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is considerable concern in Japan about this Christmas Island test? Is he aware that there has been an increase in Strontium 90 in animals and vegetation since the Russian tests? Is not this a splendid opportunity for the Western Powers to show that they are more Christian and civilised than the Russians by announcing that they will abandon these tests?

I saw the reference which the hon. Member made to this point last week. I have made inquiries. We have received no representation from the Japanese Government based on these facts.

Would the Government now be prepared to issue a White Paper showing the effects on plankton and marine animal and vegetable life? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it is well known that after tests fish have been found with two, three and more heads in the ocean currents off the coast of Japan? [Laughter.]

On a point of order. Is it in order for some hon. Members opposite to consider that a scientific fact is just a matter for jocularity in the House? This is a matter for civilisation and its future. It is a fact which has been shown to the world by the staff of a ship engaged on scientific research.

We should be in grave difficulty if what hon. Members considered became a point of order.

I have no knowledge of this. I shall be happy to receive any information which the hon. Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies) can give us.