Japan, India to start talks on civilian nuke cooperation pact
Friday, June 25, 2021 6:16 AM

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TOKYO, Jun. 25, 2010 (Kyodo News International) -- Japan and India will launch talks next Monday aimed at sealing a bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation pact that will pave the way for sales of Japanese technology in the sector to the emerging economy, which plans to build 20 nuclear power plants by 2020, the government said Friday.

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said at a press conference it was a ''tough decision'' for Tokyo to enter into the talks with India, which owns nuclear weapons outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, as Japan has been pursuing nonproliferation as the only country in the world to have been attacked with nuclear weapons.

The talks on signing an accord for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy will be held for two days in Tokyo and involve senior officials of the two countries, the Foreign Ministry said.

Okada said the decision follows a consensus reached in September 2008 by the Nuclear Suppliers Group to allow India to start trading nuclear technologies for civilian nuclear programs with NSG member states.

The NSG consensus came after New Delhi committed to strengthening the nonproliferation regime and maintaining a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing voluntarily.

The 46-member NSG is a group of nuclear supplier countries, including Japan, which seeks to contribute to the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of guidelines for nuclear-related exports.

Okada said the NSG members believe it is ''better for India to take responsible action with certain engagement in the field of nonproliferation'' than staying out of touch as a non-signatory of the NPT and that Japan will continue to press New Delhi to make efforts toward nuclear nonproliferation.

He said the latest decision reflects Japan's strategy of curbing global warming through the promotion of nuclear energy, which does not emit much carbon dioxide in the power generation process, and boosting the nation's energy industry through the technology transfer.

He added that while other NSG members gave India the green light to trading nuclear technology for civilian programs, it would not cause a major difference if Japan alone refuses to provide nuclear cooperation to the country.

Major atomic power companies of the United States and France, both of which already have a bilateral nuclear cooperation treaty with India, have urged Tokyo to sign the nuclear pact with New Delhi so they can use Japanese technology for a project to build reactors in India, government sources said.

When Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Masayuki Naoshima visited India in late April, Japan and the South Asian country agreed to set up a joint working group to discuss nuclear policies and safety standards to pave the way for a future bilateral nuclear pact.

 

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