Abe Signs Deal With Hollande on Japan-France Nuclear Ties

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Francois Hollande agreed to deepen cooperation on nuclear reactor exports and to consider working together on defense equipment development.

France and Japan’s foreign and defense ministers will meet as soon as possible for talks on matters including military exports, under the accord Hollande and Abe signed today in Tokyo.

Both leaders are seeking to market their country’s technological expertise abroad to revive their economies. Abe is also highlighting Japan’s atomic energy prowess even as his government mulls restarting nuclear plants shut after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

“We must raise international safety standards, and from that perspective we want to meet expectations for Japan’s technology,” Abe told reporters at a joint press conference with Hollande. “In that respect, Japan and France are the strongest partners in the world.”

Hollande’s trip comes six weeks after a visit to China, where Airbus SAS won an $8 billion order for 60 planes. Last month Abe and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the signing of a $22 billion agreement for the building of Turkey’s second nuclear plant by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and France’s Areva SA.

Japan and France agreed to promote the international use of the 1,100-megawatt Atmea reactor, developed by Mitsubishi and Areva. The Atmea has never been built anywhere after a project in France was canceled. Championing Japan’s nuclear power technology is part of Abe’s aim to triple infrastructure exports to 30 trillion yen ($31 billion) by 2020 to boost economic growth.

Shared Values

Struggling to calm a territorial standoff with China, Abe has sought since taking office in December to strengthen ties with countries he says share values including democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The two countries agreed in the accord to boost cooperation to maintain peace and stability in the Pacific.

“Both our countries contribute to the maintenance of international peace and safety and we share the will to strengthen our cooperation in this field,” the leaders said in their statement.

Hollande praised Abe’s efforts to overcome 15 years of deflation, saying at the press conference that improving competitiveness and economic activity was “good news.”

The French president is being accompanied by first lady Valerie Trierweiler as well as the chief executives of firms including Renault SA and Areva SA. After meeting with Abe, Hollande addressed a joint session of Japan’s parliament before attending a state dinner with Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace.

(Updates with Hollande comments in ninth paragraph.)
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