Nuclear progress sought

Japan and India will work toward an agreement on nuclear energy co-operation during a visit this week by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as Tokyo tries to boost exports of atomic technology and other infrastructure to help revive the economy.

TOKYO — Japan and India will work toward an agreement on nuclear energy co-operation during a visit this week by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as Tokyo tries to boost exports of atomic technology and other infrastructure to help revive the economy.

“I do hope that we can make progress in civil nuclear energy co-operation,” Kyodo News Service quoted Singh as telling reporters in New Delhi on Saturday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is eager to promote sales of Japanese nuclear technology as part of Japan’s push to expand exports, especially in emerging markets in Asia and the Middle East that offer stronger growth potential than at home, without the political tensions that plague Tokyo’s dealings with mainland China.

Earlier this month, Japan and India signed a set of agreements on economic co-operation and investment, including multibillion-dollar plans for industrial corridors between New Delhi and Mumbai, and between Chennai and Bangalore. The two sides are also expected to discuss closer military ties.

Singh originally had planned his visit for late last year.

He postponed it due to a parliamentary election in December that returned Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party to power. The Indian prime minister arrives in Tokyo on Monday and departs Thursday.

Despite both sides’ hopes for closer ties, trade between Japan and India has not yet taken off.

Japan’s exports to India fell nearly 5 per cent in the fiscal year that ended in March to 842.1 billion yen ($8.25 billion) — one-thirteenth of the amount Japan shipped to China — while imports rose 4.5 per cent from a year earlier to 579.1 billion yen ($5.7 billion), according to Japanese figures.

But with India due to invest about $1 trillion in infrastructure in 2012-2017, Singh said he sees an “enormous role” for Japanese industry in helping build up his country’s manufacturing sector.

Highlighting that focus, Singh is due to address Japan’s powerful Keidanran business group during his stay in Tokyo, said India’s foreign secretary, Ranjan Mathai.

He said the two sides would also discuss possible exports of Japan’s high-speed rail technology.

Japan’s sales to India of nuclear equipment and technology have been hampered by sensitivity in Japan over India’s past atomic tests and refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

India has announced a moratorium on further nuclear testing, but Japan also wants a clearer commitment from New Delhi.

The two sides are also working to decide on consequences should India conduct another nuclear test.

Discussions with Japan on nuclear technology are only at the “very preliminary stage,” Mathai said, adding that India hopes to see progress on an agreement later in the year.

Japan’s nuclear power plants are mostly stalled at home due to safety concerns following the March 2011 disaster in Fukushima. So big companies like Hitachi Ltd., Toshiba Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are desperate to offset lost business at home through sales overseas.

It’s a lucrative prospect, given the dozens of nuclear reactors due to be constructed worldwide in coming years. The pro-nuclear Liberal Democrats also contend that Japan should restart reactors closed down for tightened safety checks to help keep the industry internationally competitive.

Japan’s first nuclear export deal since the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant came during a visit by Abe to Turkey, which chose a Japanese-French partnership to build a nuclear reactor on its Black Sea coast.

The two sides also signed a nuclear co-operation agreement, as Abe reassured his hosts that Japan has learned from the disaster and is offering technology with the highest safety standards.

During that overseas tour, Abe also signed nuclear agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. He is also aiming at nuclear exports to Eastern Europe, with local reports saying he plans to visit Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in June.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
Gov’t of Alberta identifies estimated 300 new COVID-19 cases Sunday

Online COVID-19 dashboard unavailable as upgrades being completed

The Central Alberta Freestyle Ski Club is hoping to win $50,000 through the Mackenzie Investments Top Peak contest. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta ski club trying to win $50K in online contest

A central Alberta ski club has entered a contest where it can… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

Ben King scores for the Red Deer Rebels during the third period of a Western Hockey League game against the Calgary Hitmen at the Westerner Park Centrium Saturday. (Photo by Rob Wallator/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels complete comeback to pick up first win of season

Rebels 3 Hitmen 2 (OT) The Red Deer Rebels were able to… Continue reading

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan takes part in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa on December 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives to call top Sajjan, Trudeau aides to testify on Vance allegations

OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives plan to summon two senior Liberal aides… Continue reading

Elvira D'Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Several provinces were preparing to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, as Canada’s… Continue reading

Mount Pearl Senior High in Mount Pearl, N.L., remains closed on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The provincial health authority says there were 185 cases at 22 schools, including 145 infections among staff and students of one high school in Mount Pearl that was an early epicentre of the outbreak. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
In Newfoundland and Labrador, three ingredients made for explosive COVID-19 outbreak

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — With her classes, three part-time jobs and a… Continue reading

A passenger places a tag on luggage at the departure terminal at Toronto Pearson Airport, in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, May 24, 2019. The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many recent immigrants to leave Canada and return to their countries of origin, where they have more social and familial connections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
COVID-19 pandemic prompts recent newcomers to leave Canada for their home countries

OTTAWA — The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Rail cars wait for pickup in Winnipeg, Sunday, March 23, 2014. The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian oil and gas on trains destined for the United States — a country experts fear is ill-equipped for the potential consequences. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
As debate rages over cross-border pipelines, U.S. analysts brace for more oil by rail

WASHINGTON — The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian… Continue reading

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

VICTORIA — Legal experts and a mother whose ex-partner was convicted of… Continue reading

Radio and television personality Dick Smyth is shown in an undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
Dick Smyth, Canadian maestro of news radio commentary, dies at 86

TORONTO — Radio and television personality Dick Smyth, whose booming commentary filled… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

Most Read