• Kyodo

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Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday that legislation may be submitted to the Diet early next year for ratifying an international pact on compensation for nuclear accidents.

“We will work to submit the bills at an appropriate time next year,” Kishida told reporters, noting the move is aimed at allowing foreign companies to participate in decommissioning or cleanup efforts at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

At a meeting in Tokyo the previous day, Kishida conveyed to visiting U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz that Tokyo intends to join the 1997 pact, under which compensation for damage resulting from a nuclear accident may be partially paid for with funds contributed by participating countries.

Japan is now seeking to join the accord in part because it would eliminate the risk of foreign firms getting involved in an accident in the course of working at the Fukushima plant from being sued overseas, where they might face punitive damages.

Moniz welcomed the Japanese move and agreed with Kishida that the two countries should coordinate closely.

The nuclear compensation pact is known formally as the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage.

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