YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

In Japan, Sarkozy calls for new global nuclear standards

Japan's Kan backs the French president's push for a May meeting of G20 nuclear officials.

March 31, 2011|Reuters
  • French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan leave a joint news conference at Kan's official residence in Tokyo.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Japan's Prime Minister Naoto… (Toru Hanai, Reuters )

TOKYO — French President Nicolas Sarkozy called on Thursday for a reform of global nuclear standards by the end of the year during a first visit by a foreign leader to Japan since the earthquake and tsunami that triggered its atomic disaster.

Group of 20 Chairman Sarkozy said France wants to host a meeting of the bloc's nuclear officials in May to fix new norms in the wake of the crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan supported the idea.

"In order to avoid recurrence of such an accident, it is our duty to accurately share with the world our experience," he said at a joint news conference.

The world's worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl in 1986 is proving hard to contain and has forced an international rethink of the benefits and safety of nuclear power.

It has also compounded an agonizing moment for the Asian nation after the quake and tsunami left more than 27,500 people dead or missing and caused damage that may top $300 billion.

First data on the economic impact of the March 11 disasters showed manufacturing slumped the most on record this month as factories shut and supply chains were disrupted, especially in the car and technology sectors for which Japan is renowned.

France, the world's most nuclear-dependent country, is taking a lead in assisting Japan. In addition to Sarkozy's show of solidarity by his presence, Paris has flown in experts from state-owned nuclear reactor maker Areva.

"Consider me your employee," Areva Chief Executive Anne Lauvergeon told Japanese officials.

The United States and Germany have weighed in too, offering robots to help repair the damaged nuclear plant.

Los Angeles Times Articles