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Japan and India sign nuclear deal

Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will sign a civil nuclear cooperation deal during Modi's visit to Tokyo on Friday, November 11. After prolonged negotiations, the Japanese-Indian nuclear agreement is a significant step for both countries.

Published: November 11, 2016, 1:45 pm

    The nuclear deal is estimated at $150 billion, and an opportunity for Japanese nuclear companies that have suffered greatly since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.

    Concerns were raised about India using Japanese nuclear technology for military purposes as details in the agreement are yet to be disclosed, while geo-strategic analysts maintain that China’s rising power is forcing Japan and India to forge closer ties.

    The Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shinbun reported on Sunday, November 5, that Japan could halt cooperation with New Delhi if the conducted another nuclear test. An opt-out clause, according to the newspaper, was included in a separate memorandum.

    The deal will mark Japan’s first nuclear cooperation agreement with a country that is a non-signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). The NPT is an international treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear proliferation. India refuses to sign it, on the grounds that it is discriminatory as nuclear-weapons states are defined only as those that have tested nuclear devices before 1967.

    The announcement of the nuclear deal was followed a communiqué that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be the first foreign leader scheduled to meet American President-elect Donald Trump. The two are expected to meet in person on November 17.

    Trump said in March, implying that he may be open to the possibility of allowing Japan to develop nuclear weapons in self-defense, rather than relying on the US military: “We are supporting them, military, and they pay us a fraction, a fraction of what they should be paying us, and of the cost. We are supporting Japan.” Trump mulled the possibility of spending less money for both the defense of Japan and South Korea.

    “At some point we have to say, you know what, we’re better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea,” Trump said. Japan is a key American ally.

    According to the Japanese news outlet Kyodo, officials confirmed a conversation between Abe and Trump, following a Republican electoral victory on Tuesday. The conversation, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters Thursday, “marks a very good start for building trust” between the two world leaders.

    The conversation, via a teleconference call, is said to have lasted around 20 minutes. Abe is expected to travel to the United States next week on his way to Peru for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in South America.

    It is assumed that the two heads of state will discuss the nuclear deal.

    Abe is one of ten heads of state, not including American President Barack Obama, who have already spoken to President-elect Trump, congratulating him and opening the bilateral line of communications. Trump has also spoken to the leaders of Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, Israel, Turkey, India, Japan, Australia, the UK and South Korea.

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