– Abe in Europe busy selling Japan’s nuclear power plants (Japan, May 8, 2014):
In defiance of fierce public objection to the government policies of restarting off-line nuclear reactors and promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework, Japan’s prime minister devoted his time to expanding the markets for Japanese nuclear- and military-related companies during his 10-day visit to six European nations, including Germany, Britain, and France.
This was the first visit to foreign countries by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo after his Cabinet on April 1 approved the new “three principles” promoting Japan’s arms trade in replacement of the traditional Three Principles banning the trade.
Abe reached an accord on military cooperation with his counterparts during his visit to Europe.
In Britain, Prime Minister Abe and his British counterpart, David Cameron, agreed to begin negotiations for a Japan-UK acquisition and cross-servicing agreement (ACSA) under which the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the British military will share supplies and transportations services. With French President Holland, Abe also agreed to launch talks for an accord on joint development of defense equipment, including surveillance drones.
Furthermore, the Japanese prime minister worked hard to promote bilateral cooperation in the development and export of nuclear power plants.
On May 1, when he delivered a speech at a reception held in the City of London, one of the world’s major financial hubs, he stressed, “The UK and Japan have a long history of involvement with each other when it comes to nuclear power development.” He proudly added that the British nuclear power company Horizon Nuclear Power is a subsidiary of Hitachi and that Toshiba in January acquired a 60% stake in the nuclear power company NuGen.
In the summit talks with the French leader, Abe received an approval to bilateral collaboration on developing a fourth generation fast-breeder reactor called ASTRID which is said to be necessary for the nuclear fuel cycle program in the two nations, though they have reached an impasse in the program.
They also confirmed that they will closely cooperate in selling to other countries like Turkey nuclear reactors which were jointly developed by companies in the two nations.