Japan interested in civil nuclear deal with India

New Delhi: Notwithstanding the Fukushima incident, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda today made it clear that his country was keen on having a civil nuclear deal with India, hoping that it will be finalised soon. Noda, who is on an official visit to India, welcomed the progress in talks with India on a bilateral civil nuclear deal and expressed the hope that it will be finalised soon.

He hailed India`s self-imposed moratorium on no-first use of nuclear weapons and hoped this stance would continue. "Japan is the only country which was attacked by a nuclear weapon," he said, adding that its safe use was the tenet for his country`s relations with other nations.

In reply to a question at a programme organised by Indian Council of World Affairs, Noda said, "At the working level, discussions on the civil nuclear deal have proceeded in the right direction. I welcome this progress. I am hopeful it will be achieved." He stated that he had discussed this issue with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna. The latter was present on the occasion.

Noda`s comments assume significance as there have been questions on the fate of the proposed deal, which is under negotiation, after the radiation scare in Fukushima when Tsunami hit a nuclear plant there on March 11.

Noda said the knowledge and lessons drawn from the damage to Fukushima nuclear plant- during the Tsunami in Japan- would be shared by the two countries to prevent such incidents in future.