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Wed, Sep 07, 2005 - Page 12 News List

Japan plans promoting nuclear energy

AFP , TOKYO

Japan plans to promote nuclear energy, which has been controversial at home, in other Asian nations such as Vietnam and Indonesia to help them diversify from oil, a trade ministry official said yesterday.

"We could help establish a system for nuclear power generation that should be in line with [global] nuclear non-proliferation and domestic laws in countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia," the official said.

Japan will dispatch experts to the two countries, which in turn will send officials here to study with the nuclear safety agency, said the official in the nuclear policy division.

As Indonesia and Vietnam plan to start generating nuclear power, "Japan wants to offer help for its peaceful, safe use," he said.

"It would also be beneficial to Japan as it contributes to easing an energy crunch and reducing global warming," he said.

Japan had proposed earlier this year to help neighbor and growing rival China construct nuclear power plants, he said.

Japan depends on nuclear power for 30 percent of its energy needs but the figure is unlikely to grow sharply in the future as few towns are willing to host nuclear plants for fear of an accident and amid slack growth in electricity demand in the barely growing Japanese economy.

Japan's offer of assistance comes amid soaring oil prices triggered by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to the US Gulf Coast.

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