Outstanding issues need to be addressed before nuke pact with India: Japan

Japan made it clear that there were "outstanding issues" which need to be addressed before the Indo-Japan civil nuclear pact could be inked.

New Delhi: Japan on Thursday made it clear that there were "outstanding issues" which need to be addressed before the Indo-Japan civil nuclear pact could be inked.

"There are several outstanding issues that we have... We will have these issues discussed in the working groups so that we can accelerate the efforts," Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi said after 7th India- Japan Energy Dialogue here.

The Japanese minister, who was addressing a joint press conference with Planning Commission Chairman Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, however, did not elaborate on the specific "outstanding issues", saying these were still being discussed by the working group.

"This is an important issue and there are various difficulties that still exist. This issue is still being discussed between working group. So, I think that it would not be wise for me to specify what outstanding issues exist.

"Because this would be misleading and therefore, I will like to refrain from making any specific comments about that," the visiting dignitary said.

"This is a very important area of our cooperation but we are not fixing any deadline. We are making progress and let`s see how it goes. It is very complex set of issues that we have to address," Ahluwalia said.

Motegi also said, efforts were on to conclude the negotiations "as soon as possible."

The remarks come barely days after the two countries resumed their negotiations on the civil nuclear pact earlier this month in Tokyo after a gap of three years.

Launched in 2010, the nuclear-energy negotiations were on hold since the Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011. The last round was held in November 2010.

During the Dialogue, both sides recognised that it was important to hold the India-Japan Energy Dialogues annually, and that the issues of energy security and global environment are high priority challenges requiring continuous and effective action.

"In particular, to overcome challenges such as the global-scale changes in the energy demand structure seen in recent years and soaring energy prices, both sides confirmed to strengthen consumer-producer dialogue on LNG and deepen cooperation in energy conservation and renewable energy sectors," the joint statement issued after the meeting said.

In addition, both sides decided to strengthen programs to further disseminate and expand model business projects that have thus far been implemented by both sides, and to enhance cooperation in upstream development of petroleum and natural gas.