The former Japanese Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, on Monday said India and Japan were close to finalising a civil nuclear cooperation agreement. He also assured full help and cooperation to India in the field of nuclear power.

“India and Japan have come to a stage of concluding the nuclear cooperation agreement…we can help India set up nuclear plants to meet its growing demand for energy,” Mr. Hatoyama said after announcing the India-Japan Global Partnership Summit 2011, which will be held from September 5 to 7 in Tokyo this year, aiming to expand people-to-people bilateral relationship.

Mr. Hatoyama, who also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, hoped that India would uphold its unilateral moratorium on nuclear tests and underscored the sensitivity Japanese people attached to it given that it was the only nation to suffer a nuclear attack.

The negotiations for the nuclear agreement were launched on June 28 when officials from Japan and India met for the first round in Tokyo. The agreement will enable Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi, Hitachi and Toshiba, all having advance civil nuclear energy technologies, to set up projects in India where the nuclear energy market is pegged at $150 billion. Japan currently meets 30 per cent of its energy requirements from nuclear plants and this is expected to increase to at least 40 per cent by 2017.

Talking about the summit being planned by the India Centre Foundation, Mr. Hatoyama said it would give the much-needed impetus to cooperation between the two nations in various fields.

“Japan is committed to India's growth and development…the proof of it is the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor being developed out of financial assistance from Japan. We need to forge similar collaborations,” he added.

With official ties between New Delhi and Tokyo on the rise, the idea to organise a Summit comes as private initiative of the India Centre Foundation, which has the support of Mr. Hatoyama and Sam Pitroda, Adviser to Prime Minister on Technology.

Mr. Hatoyama, who serves on the Foundation's Advisory Board, stressed on the need to take the bilateral relations beyond the official engagements and enlarge it by bringing the two societies closer.

Interacting with media, Mr. Hatoyama said the Summit was aimed at enhancing ties in various fields.

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