19 Aug 2003

Japan tries to reassure Pacific over the safety of nuke shipments

4:26 pm on 19 August 2003

Japan has joined Britain and France in reassuring members of the Pacific Islands Forum of the safety of nuclear shipments that cross the Pacific.

All three countries say they would help the region in the unlikely event of any accident, but have failed to formally agree to any compensation formula.

Japan's Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tetsuro Yano, has told Pacific officials during the Post Forum dialogue that Japan would be making every effort to inform them about the shipments.

He says Japan will continue to send explanatory missions to Forum member countries and invite senior officials to Tokyo to assure them of the safety of the radioactive shipments.

Mr Yano also expressed Japan's gratitude over the Forum's call for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme.

Meanwhile......

India has been involved in discussion for the first time after being admitted as a Post Forum dialogue partner last year.

The head of India's delegation, Rajendra Abhyankar, said his country planned to send a mission to each of the Forum member nations to assess what help could be provided under India's technical assistance programme.