Naoto Kan, the Japanese prime minister, has stepped up his efforts to promote overseas trade by concluding an agreement to build two civil nuclear reactors for Vietnam and to co-operate with the Vietnamese government on the exploration and refining of rare earth minerals.
Mr Kan met Nguyen Tan Dung, his Vietnamese counterpart, on Sunday after a summit of Asian leaders in Hanoi. A Japanese government spokesman said the two leaders held “fruitful discussions encompassing political, security, economic and other issues”, including development assistance and possible Japanese projects involving high-speed rail and metro systems.
在亚洲领导人峰会结束后，菅直人与越南总理阮晋勇(Nguyen Tan Dung)周日在河内进行了会晤。日本政府发言人表示，两位领导人“围绕政治、安全、经济和其他问题进行了富有成效的磋商”，其中包括发展援助以及涉及高铁和地铁系统在内的可能的日本项目。
The civil nuclear reactor deal is a coup for the Kan administration and the first significant order since it embarked on a policy of supporting exports of Japanese technology overseas.
The Kan administration has stated its goal of increasing infrastructure exports in order to support Japan’s economic growth. It has also been keen to promote Japan’s high-speed rail technology for use in Vietnam and other countries.
The Japanese nuclear project, which will be located in Ninh Thuan province, in southern Vietnam, is also the first order for the International Nuclear Energy Development of Japan Co, a public-private venture established last month designed to help export Japan’s nuclear technology.
这个日本核项目将落址在越南南部的宁顺省，也是Japan Co国际核能开发(International Nuclear Energy Development of Japan Co)的首个订单。该公司是上月成立的一家政府和私人合资企业，旨在帮助出口日本的核技术。
Global competition to sell nuclear technology to power-hungry developing nations is heating up, with France, Japan, South Korea and the US leading the way.
France and South Korea have also been vying to secure nuclear power projects in Vietnam, which wants to generate as much as 20 per cent of its energy from nuclear by 2030.
The US concluded a memorandum of understanding on nuclear co-operation with Vietnam in March but Vietnam must sign a formal Section 123 agreement before it is allowed to import nuclear technology from the US.
In addition, Japanese and Vietnamese leaders have agreed to work together to exploit Vietnam’s reserves of rare earths, which are vital to the manufacture of technological products as diverse as wind turbines, car batteries and radar systems.
China produces 97 per cent of the world’s rare earths but this dominance has become more controversial as the government has steadily reduced export quotas for the minerals.
After meeting in Hanoi with her Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said she had been reassured that “China has no intention of withholding these minerals from the market”.
But she said that, regardless of that assurance, the US and its allies in Japan and Europe would continue searching for new sources of rare earths.