Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Tan Dung, confirmed Saturday that they will continue to cooperate on nuclear power generation and the development of rare earth metals, the Foreign Ministry said.
In their second meeting in about five months, Noda and Dung also confirmed that progress is being made on a plan to build two reactors in Vietnam, after Japan won the contracts for them in October 2010, the ministry said. Whether foreign countries will continue to import Japan’s nuclear technology has been an issue since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami triggered the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
The two leaders also noted that efforts to develop supplies of rare earth metals are moving forward, it said. Japan is keen to develop supplies of the elements with Vietnam and its regional neighbors as rival China controls more than 90 percent of the global supply, and Southeast Asia is considered to be relatively unexploited.
The meeting, joined by Transport Minister Takeshi Maeda and Nguyen Minh Quang, Vietnam’s natural resources and environment minister, was held on the sidelines of a summit between Japan and the five Mekong Delta nations of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
The leaders also welcomed the signing last week of a note that paves the way for Vietnamese nationals to work in Japan as nurses and caregivers under their free-trade accord. Japan has also made similar agreements with Indonesia and the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Dung said Saturday he supports Japan’s intentions to join the trade talks concerning the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
Concerning the planned construction in Vietnam of nuclear reactors by Japan, Dung said he expects Japan to construct “the safest nuclear reactors using its cutting-edge technology.”