Arrangements are being made to hold first-ever working-level talks with the United States, China and South Korea in July to curb nuclear terrorism, a growing threat to global security, a government source said.
Cooperation among the four nations is aimed at countering North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and missile weapons development, the source said Saturday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government hopes to use the multilateral dialogue, expected to be held in Washington, to pave the way for mending strained relations with China and South Korea through “an issue of common concern,” according to the source.
Japan’s ties with China and South Korea are chilly, due largely to territorial disputes and different views of wartime history.
When he attends the Nuclear Security Summit scheduled for March 24 to 25 in The Hague, Abe is expected to announce Japan’s increased commitment to addressing nuclear proliferation and terrorism in cooperation with other countries, including frameworks such as the four-nation dialogue.
Abe is expected to say Tokyo will seek the cooperation of the International Atomic Energy Agency and participants in the summit, including China and South Korea, on measures to prevent the spread of nuclear terrorism, such as attacks on nuclear power plants, the source said.
“It’s the perfect opportunity for Japan, being the only country that has suffered wartime A-bombings, to make an appeal for its efforts to promote nuclear nonproliferation,” an aide to Abe said.
According to the source, the government will send to the working-level meeting staff from the Integrated Support Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security, based in Tokaimura, Ibaraki Prefecture.
The center is prodding related organizations in China and South Korea to send their own representatives, while officials from the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration also are expected to attend the multilateral talks, the source said.
Representatives from the four countries plan to discuss challenges in preventing nuclear terrorist attacks globally and share a system in which Japan and the United States, in particular, deal with nuclear security concerns, the source said.
In the field of nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear security, Tokyo has the potential to contribute in the field of nuclear forensics, which analyzes the composition of nuclear materials, in cooperation with Washington.
The government set up the integrated support center in December 2010 under the Japan Atomic Energy Agency to boost nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear security. Its activities include safeguarding nuclear materials such as plutonium and developing technology to track down their place of origin.
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