After Canada, India begins nuclear talks with Japan

Japan and India began the first round of talks in Tokyo today on exporting nuclear power generation technology made by technology giants such as Toshiba Corp, Hitachi Ltd, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to help meet India's nuclear power generation targets, the Japanese foreign ministry said.

The talks began shortly after prime minister Manmohan Singh met Japan's prime minister Naoto Kan on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Toronto.

The two-day talks represent "the first round of negotiations," the foreign ministry said in statement. They are aimed at devising a treaty to allow cooperation between both sides on peaceful use of nuclear power, but no deadline to reach an agreement has been set.

The talks signal a significant shift for Japan, which previously refrained from entering such discussions out of concerns about India's refusal to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Japan, the only country to suffer a nuclear hit, is traditionally a strong proponent of the NPT, aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons.

The talks could be the first step toward bringing Japan into line with the US, France and Russia, which already have bilateral civilian nuclear technology agreements with India.

A Japan-India pact would also likely hearten non-Japanese firms such as General Electric and France's Areva, as it would allow them to use key Japanese technology in their India projects.