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Japan, India to jointly develop rare earth

TOKYO (AFP) ― The foreign ministers of Japan and India agreed on Saturday at a meeting in Tokyo to accelerate joint development of rare earth mineral deposits in the South Asian country.

Koichiro Gemba and his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna also confirmed they would move forward stalled talks on a civilian nuclear cooperation pact at a joint news conference after their meeting.

“The two countries will move ahead with a joint development,” of rare earth deposits in India, said Gemba, quoted by Jiji Press, in line with an accord reached last year when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Japan.

Japan has looked to diversify rare earth supplies for its high-tech industries ― ranging from computer components to hybrid cars ― as China, which controls more than 90 percent of global supply, has tightened its export quotas.

Gemba also said the two countries “will move forward talks on the civilian nuclear cooperation pact while paying consideration to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation,” according to Jiji.

The pact would allow Tokyo to export its cutting-edge nuclear technology to the energy-hungry South Asian nation, a hotly contested market for atomic plants.

But negotiations on the deal have stalled after the March 11 quake and tsunami in northeast Japan triggered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, the world’s worst since Chernobyl 25 years ago.

The Japanese foreign minister said India pressed for the nuclear pact negotiations to resume despite the Fukushima disaster.

“We agreed to resume negotiations at the working level so that we can surely move towards it,” Gemba said.
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