Tokyo/Toronto: India and Japan today
began crucial talks to clinch a deal to cooperate in the
civilian nuclear energy that would allow sales of advanced
technology by Japanese majors like Mitsubishi and Hitachi.
Japan has so far been aloof to nuclear technology
sharing with India because of New Delhi not being a signatory
to the NPT.
The ice was broken at a meeting between Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh and his new Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan on
the fringes of the G-20 summit in Toronto, Japanese officials
India has already inked similar deals with eight
countries, including the US, France, Russia and Canada, which
are trying to boost their nuclear power industries.
Noting the recent progress in bilateral cooperation in
civilian nuclear development, Singh expressed hope for further
collaboration in the sector, and Kan responded that there are
a number of things Tokyo can cooperate with, Kyodo news agency
quoted the Japanese officials as saying.
Singh and Kan, who met for the first time since the
latter became the Japanese Prime Minister early this month,
also agreed on the need to deepen bilateral ties, while
working toward a strategic and global partnership, officials
Hours after Singh and Kan met in Toronto, senior
Indian and Japanese officials began the first round of talks
today at the Japanese Foreign Ministry in Tokyo aimed at
sealing a bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation pact.
During the two-day meeting, the two countries will try
to work out arrangements to allow Japan to export its nuclear
power generation technology and related equipment to India
while banning India from using them for military purposes and
transferring them to another country, Kyodo news reported.
India is represented by Gautam Bambawale, Joint
Secretary (East Asia) in Ministry of External Affairs and
Mitsuru Kitano, Deputy-Director General, Southeast and
Southwest Asian Affairs Department from the Japanese side.
Japan wants to sign the agreement at an early date in
line with the new 10-year growth strategy adopted June 18 by
its Cabinet, the highlights of which include promoting the
export of nuclear power generation facilities, it said.
In light of China`s growing influence in the
international arena, Japan is apparently seeking to better
position itself by strengthening business ties with India, the
The talks held between Japanese and Indian diplomats
were attended also by officials from Japan`s Cabinet and the
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
American and French companies in particular want to
use Japanese-made equipment in nuclear power plants they aim
to build in India. They and Japanese firms therefore have been
pressing on Tokyo to facilitate their business in the emerging
In Japan, however, the planned accord faces
significant public criticism since India has developed nuclear
arms without signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, so
the Japanese government is expected to call on India to work
on nuclear disarmament in earnest, the report said.
Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada last week said
it was a "tough decision" for Tokyo to enter into the talks
with India, which owns nuclear weapons outside the NPT.
Five atomic bomb victim groups from the city of
Nagasaki, which was devastated by the atomic bombing by the
United States at the end of World War II, jointly issued a
written protest today saying Japan should abandon the plan for
the accord which leads to the collapse of NPT regimes.
Japan -- the only country that has suffered US atom
bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War
II -- maintains an official policy of not possessing or
producing nuclear weapons, and not allowing them on its