TOKYO, Dec. 25, 2010 (Kyodo News International) -- Japan is seeking to promote civil nuclear cooperation with nations such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which have not ratified a protocol to allow snap inspections by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, as Tokyo aims to increase infrastructure exports including nuclear power generation technology under its economic growth strategy, government sources said Saturday.
Japan has been advocating ratification of the Additional Protocol for safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency, but the move could signify a shift to placing more importance on exports of nuclear power plants than nuclear nonproliferation, analysts said.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed a positive stance on promoting civil nuclear cooperation with Egypt at a meeting on Japanese infrastructure exports attended by some Cabinet ministers in October, the sources said.
But Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara expressed caution regarding the promotion of Japanese exports of nuclear plants to Egypt at the meeting, saying Egypt has yet to ratify the protocol, they said.
Egypt has refused to ratify the Additional Protocol.
Japan has been seeking to expand exports of nuclear power generation technology to other countries after securing a basic accord in October to build two nuclear reactors in Vietnam, according to the sources.
Tokyo has already started unofficial talks with Brazil on nuclear cooperation and is eyeing negotiations with Malaysia, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey, which have either ratified or will ratify the Additional Protocol, they said.
Brazil has not ratified the Additional Protocol, but it has concluded a bilateral pact with neighboring Argentina on inspections, ensuring a certain degree of transparency in its nuclear program, the sources said.