JAPAN, March 31, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM / KYODO NEWS) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived Thursday in Japan to discuss the drawn-out crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant with Prime Minister Naoto Kan, as reported by KYODO NEWS AGENCY.
Sarkozy became the first foreign leader to visit Japan since the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that obliterated northeastern coastal towns and ravaged the nuclear facility.
He will express his solidarity with Japan, not only as the French leader but also as the chair of the Group of 20 leading industrialized and emerging economies.
He is also expected to say that France, which relies on nuclear power for nearly 80 percent of its electricity, is committed to offering more of its expertise to help Japan contain radiation spilling out of the crippled complex, located about 220 kilometers from Tokyo.
Kan and Sarkozy are scheduled to hold a joint news conference in the early evening shortly after their meeting at the premier’s office.
Sarkozy came to Tokyo for a brief visit after taking part in a G-20 seminar on reshaping the global monetary system in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing.
The president, visiting Japan for the second time since taking office in 2007, will head back to France soon after the news conference, according to Japanese officials.
France now holds the rotating presidency of the G-20 and Group of Eight major powers, both of which Japan is a member country.
France has the second most nuclear power stations of any country after the United States. Japan has the third most, deriving about 30 percent of its power from nuclear reactors.
Following the serious accident at the Fukushima plant, nuclear issues will top the agenda at the G-8 summit in late May, when leaders also from Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States gather in the northwestern French resort city of Deauville.
Kan and Sarkozy will almost certainly also discuss the situation in Libya, given that France has been taking a major role in demanding Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s immediate resignation, according to the Foreign Ministry officials. (*)