Hitching their political wagon to a thriving economic relationship, Japan and the European Union have been attempting to close what one Japanese government official has called ‘a gap in understanding’ over the prospect of the EU lifting its arms embargo against China.
Setting aside differences over the arms ban, the 25-nation EU stressed the magnitude of the partners’ shared global trade interests.
But in the context of Asian regional security, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, during an EU-Japan summit in Luxembourg, urged the EU not to lift the arms embargo. The EU promised not to undermine stability in the region.
The two sides still appeared deadlocked over a site for the world’s first nuclear fusion reactor. China and Russia are backing the EU bid to build ITER, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, in Cadarache, France, while the United States and South Korea are partners with Japan.
When asked if he could ever support the project going to France, Koizumi said discussions were proceeding to produce an agreement among the six parties.
Europe said in March it wanted an international agreement by this July, adding pressure on Japan to give up its bid to host the site.
The 10 billion euro fusion reactor project would use sea water as fuel, aiming to find long-term, low-pollution answers to the world’s energy problems.