The deputy prime minister revealed the plans during an interview in Hanoi with Atsushi Narita, general managing editor of The Mainichi Newspapers' Editorial Division. However, the unpredictable situation amid the ongoing nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, which has resulted in widespread radiation contamination, has created resistance in Japan to resuming exports of nuclear power.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is set to visit Japan on Oct. 30, and conclude an agreement with Japan at that time. When former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan visited Vietnam in October last year, he confirmed that Vietnam would partner with Japan in the construction of two reactors. After the outbreak of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant, Vietnam maintained that it would apply Japanese technology in the project, but there had been no formal agreement between the governments of the two countries.

During negotiations, Vietnam presented six conditions to the Japanese government, including the introduction of safety-verified, cutting-edge technology, and provisions pertaining to the disposal of nuclear waste. Japan has consecutively met these conditions.

The final outstanding issue was low-interest loans to the Vietnamese government that would provide capital for construction. Both countries are believed to have reached an agreement on this, meaning that all of the hurdles for construction have been cleared.

In his interview with the Mainichi, Phuc said that Japan and Vietnam had formed a "strategic partnership." He said that Fukushima was an unexpected accident, but stressed that there had been no change in the relationship between the two countries in terms of nuclear-power cooperation.

Phuc was appointed deputy prime minister in August this year after having served as minister and chairman of the Government Office of Vietnam, and is in the head position among Vietnam's four deputy prime ministers. He responded to the interview at the request of a Mainichi group visiting Vietnam, headed by Mainichi Newspapers President Yutaka Asahina.

The Mainichi Daily News - October 26, 2011