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Japan, France join hands on defense equipment, fast-breeder reactors

Kyodo

Japan and France agreed Monday to open talks on joint development of defense equipment, signed a document on developing fast-breeder reactor technology and confirmed plans to foster economic dialogue.

In addition to jointly producing unmanned submersibles for surveillance, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Francois Hollande reached an accord to hold a summit meeting every year to the extent possible, according to a joint paper that was released after their talks in Paris.

“As the security situation in Europe and East Asia becomes increasingly severe, close coordination between the two countries has never been more necessary,” Abe said as he greeted the press together with Hollande.

The French leader expressed a willingness to hold security dialogue with Japan on many occasions.

Abe has been hoping to forge stronger ties with France, which recently been expanding economic coordination with China.

Japan and France will hold a round of “two-plus-two” security talks between their defense and foreign ministers in Tokyo next year.

In an apparent reference to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and China’s increasing naval assertiveness in Asia, Abe and Hollande voiced opposition to countries that acquire, or assert claims to, part of another country through the use of force in violation of international law, the joint paper said.

To strengthen cooperation on nuclear energy technology, Tokyo and Paris agreed to cooperate on civil nuclear power technology as long as priority is given to ensuring the highest level of safety in the world. In connection with this, officials from both countries signed a document Monday on developing fast-breeder reactor technology designed primarily to reduce radioactive waste.

On the free trade deal being negotiated between Japan and the European Union, the two leaders shared the view that such a deal would be an opportunity to promote growth and employment on both sides and reaffirmed plans to reach an agreement on the pact in the near future.

Abe has so far visited Germany, Britain, Portugal, Spain and France during his swing through Europe. He is scheduled to visit Belgium before returning to Tokyo on Thursday.