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2013年6月 9日 (日)

日仏首脳会談 互いに有益な原発・安保協力

The Yomiuri Shimbun June 9, 2013
Closer nuclear, security ties will benefit both Japan, France
日仏首脳会談 互いに有益な原発・安保協力(6月8日付・読売社説)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting French President Francois Hollande met Friday. After their meeting, the two leaders issued a joint statement saying their countries would work together in a wide range of areas including security and nuclear technology.

On nuclear power generation, the statement pledged comprehensive bilateral cooperation in areas such as ensuring the safety of nuclear facilities and conducting the final disposal of nuclear waste. It also referred to joint projects to promote the nuclear fuel cycle and develop a next-generation, high-speed reactor.

It is highly significant that Japan and France agreed to work together by taking advantage of their accumulated technologies and experience.

The two countries agreed to expand partnerships between the public and private sectors to clean up the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. France is known for its high-level technology for processing water and soil contaminated with radiation. Closer ties between Japan and France in this area likely will become a model for internationally handling a nuclear crisis.

The joint statement also noted the Japanese and French governments will work with the private sector to export nuclear power plants to third countries.

Last month, a consortium of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and French nuclear giant Areva SA clinched its first order from Turkey to build a nuclear plant there. This international strategy will benefit both countries’ economies.

United front against China

Security was the other main pillar of the joint statement. Japan and France agreed to strengthen security cooperation “to deal with new issues caused by a rising power.” This apparently was a reference to China, which has become increasingly assertive in recent times.

In particular, the statement sought respect for the principles of the Law of the Sea. Japan has high hopes it will be able to work with France, which has island territories in the Pacific Ocean, to stand firm against China on maritime matters.

However, a French company recently signed a deal with China to sell equipment that helps helicopters land on ships even in bad weather. The government has voiced concern to France over China’s increased maritime capability, as Chinese government vessels have repeatedly intruded into Japanese waters around the Senkaku Islands.

During Friday’s meeting, Abe and Hollande agreed to launch intergovernmental dialogue to discuss exports of equipment that could have military applications. We view this agreement as a step forward. But Tokyo needs to press Paris further to strictly curb exports of defense equipment to China.

Regional rows concern Paris

After the summit talks, the French president addressed the Diet, during which he mentioned Japan’s tensions with China and South Korea over differences in historical perceptions. “A line must be drawn for past issues,” he said, citing the improved relationship between his country and Germany, which waged war against each other for years in the past.

Japan must thoroughly explain to France its position on the issue of historical perceptions.

Hollande is the first French president to visit Japan as a state guest since Jacques Chirac 17 years ago. Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, seemed unenthusiastic about Japan as he placed more importance on building closer economic ties with China. We hope Hollande’s visit to Japan will be an opportunity to make a fresh start in deepening Japan-France relations.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun June 8, 2013)
(2013年6月8日01時49分  読売新聞)


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