Japan said Thursday that it has signed an agreement to help Vietnam build its first nuclear power plant.
The Vietnamese government is preparing to start construction of the plant in 2015, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a statement.
The agreement was signed by Masashi Nakano, senior vice minister of economy, trade and industry, and his Vietnamese counterpart, Do Huu Hao, in Hanoi, the statement said.
Japan, which has 50 years of experience in nuclear power generation, will provide assistance for preparation and planning, as well as training of specialists. It will also help Vietnam establish safety regulations.
'It is very significant that a framework has been established for Japan to help Vietnam with its 50-year history in nuclear power development and its expertise in operating 55 nuclear power plants,' the statement said.
'Under this agreement, we will combine efforts at government and private sector levels to cooperate with Vietnam.'
Vietnam, which is enjoying rapid economic growth, has previously said it wants to build a nuclear power plant that would produce electricity from 2020.
The agreement signed Thursday is in part aimed at making it easier for Japanese companies to win orders for the construction in Vietnam, Kyodo News said quoting government officials.
Companies from France, South Korea and other countries are also showing strong interest in taking part in the construction, Kyodo said.