Japan vows to continue nuclear plant exports
Japan said Friday it will continue exporting atomic power plants, despite uncertainty over its own use of them as it continues to grapple with a crisis at the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant.
Tokyo actively promoted nuclear plant exports until a massive quake and tsunami on March 11 sent the Fukushima Daiichi facility into meltdown, causing it to leak radiation in the world's worst nuclear accident since the 1985 Chernobyl disaster.
Japan reached an agreement last October to provide two nuclear power plants to Vietnam. It also signed a memorandum in December on civil nuclear cooperation with Turkey, preceding a possible deal for Japanese companies to build a nuclear plant by the Black Sea.
In a statement, the Tokyo government said: "In case other countries wish to utilise our country's nuclear power technology, we should provide it by ensuring that its safety is of the highest global standards."
It added that "a number of countries" continued to express an interest in Japan's nuclear power technology.
The statement, approved by Prime Minister Naoto Kan's cabinet, was issued in response to an opposition question on the government's policy on the export of nuclear power plants.
Amid the ongoing nuclear crisis, Kan has recently said Japan should reduce its dependence on nuclear energy and prepare for an eventual halt of nuclear power generation.
In late July, the premier said in parliament he had pushed for nuclear plant exports himself but that "thorough discussions should be held on the matter once again."
The statement also called on Japan's parliament to ratify accords on civil nuclear power cooperation with Jordan, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam to avoid spoiling the fruit of diplomatic negotiations and causing damage to bilateral trust.
(c) 2011 AFP