TOKYO – The energy ministers of Japan and the United States met in Tokyo on Monday to boost bilateral cooperation on energy production following the White House’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
The meeting between the US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and his Japanese counterpart Hiroshige Seko took place in the Japanese capital after US President Donald Trump announced on June 1 his country’s withdrawal from the international climate change agreement sealed in Paris in 2015.
During the meeting, the US energy secretary said the country will remain committed to protecting the environment despite pulling out of the global accord, several Japanese government officials told local Kyodo news agency.
The Japanese minister told Perry that Japan regrets the US exit from the agreement, the officials added.
The decision was strongly criticized by the Japanese government, which like other countries and international organizations indicated its intention to ask the Trump administration to reconsider their decision to leave the pact.
Before his trip to Japan, Perry expressed his “full support” for the US president’s decision, saying that the US “will continue to be actively engaged in the development of global energy and the world leader in the development of next generation technology.”
Seko and Perry agreed to boost bilateral cooperation to develop all forms of energy production, including nuclear, fossil, liquefied natural gas and renewables.
The two ministers also discussed the situation of Westinghouse Electric, the nuclear company and US subsidiary of Toshiba which filed for bankruptcy in March.
The bankruptcy has cast doubts on the construction of two new nuclear reactors in the state of Georgia that Westinghouse was involved in, and on the profitability of nuclear energy.
Seko stressed to Perry the need to maintain cooperation for the generation of nuclear energy despite Westinghouse’s problems, while the US secretary in turn offered Washington’s “strong support” to Tokyo in the dismantling process of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Perry visited the nuclear complex on Sunday evening to observe the dismantling process, which could take two or three decades. He is expected to depart for China on Monday.