JAPAN | Nuke export talks suspended

Posted on July 16, 2011

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JAPAN| JAPAN TIMES | 16 July 2011 

Kyodo

The government will suspend talks with Brazil and four other countries concerning the sale of Japanese-made nuclear power equipment and technology after Prime Minister Naoto Kan this week called for Japan’s eventual exit from atomic power.

The decision concerns negotiations over completing separate nuclear power cooperation agreements with Brazil, India, South Africa, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Negotiations with all five countries have stalled since the earthquake and tsunami in March triggered the nuclear crisis in Fukushima Prefecture.

The decision to suspend talks with the five countries with plans to build nuclear plants in the immediate future could cause Japanese companies to lag further behind rivals in South Korea and Russia in the global competition to clinch atomic plant contracts with emerging economies.

Japan needs to sign bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements with other countries and have them endorsed by the Diet in order to export nuclear power technology and equipment.

Any move to proceed with the talks now “could risk contradicting the prime minister’s policy,” a government source said.

The source also indicated the government will not schedule any high-level talks with the five prospective nations on completing nuclear cooperation accords without getting Kan’s nod.

Ministries involved in forging the accord, including the industry ministry and the Foreign Ministry, will hold off to also see if and when Kan resigns.

Kan has expressed his intention to step down if three conditions are met during the current Diet session, including the passage of a bill aimed to promote the use of renewable energy sources.

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