Japan looks to resume nuclear energy talks with India

Kyodo

Japan is considering resuming talks with India on bilateral cooperation in nuclear energy, the government’s top spokesman said Monday.

“We have judged it sensible to negotiate an accord with India on nuclear cooperation,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to promote exports of nuclear power plants to India under the accord when he meets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on May 29 in Tokyo, sources close to the matter said.

The talks come amid widespread concern in Japan about the safety of nuclear power in light of the core meltdowns that took place at the poorly protected Fukushima No. 1 power plant when the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami hit.

Talks between the two countries were launched in 2010 but have been suspended since the disaster.

The Indian side has “expressed strong hope for a nuclear agreement with Japan even after the nuclear accident,” Suga said. “As a country having experienced a disaster, (Japan) is responsible for contributing to the improved safety of atomic energy by sharing knowledge and lessons with the world.”

As part of his strategy to boost the struggling economy, Abe is trying to promote exports of atomic and other infrastructure to the developing world.

Earlier this month, Japan concluded nuclear accords with the United Arab Emirates and Turkey during Abe’s visits there.