New Delhi: Despite domestic misgivings Japan has committed itself to talks with India on the issue of civil nuclear cooperation. This was made evident by visiting Japanese foreign minister, Katsuya Okada, who said a decision to start negotiations had been made.
Referring to domestic constraints Okada also mentioned that this decision to commence negotiations had been one of the toughest he ever had to make.
Okada would have been helped in reaching a decision to commence meaningful negotiations with India by the fact that this sub-continental country's atomic energy market is worth an estimated $150 billion. As such, it is a lucrative opportunity for nuclear technology suppliers from around the world and Japanese companies, which either own or have joint ventures with international firms engaged in nuclear technology trade cannot afford to give such a market the miss.
Speaking at a news conference in Delhi, Okada said in the eventuality of a nuclear test by India Japan would have to suspend cooperation. Tokyo faces domestic opposition to signing nuclear deals with nations, like India, that are not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Okada held talks with his Indian counterpart, SM Krishna, during the two-day state visit, an Indian foreign ministry statement said.
Okada's visit, coincidentally, comes at a time when the UPA government in Delhi is all set to introduce legislation that will ease participation in the construction of nuclear reactors in India by foreign companies.