French president going to Japan to offer support

AP News
Posted: Mar 29, 2011 11:27 AM
French president going to Japan to offer support

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will travel to Japan to offer support to the country after its earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor crisis, his office said Tuesday.

Sarkozy will head to Tokyo on Thursday, where he will have talks with Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the office said in a statement.

The French leader is going on behalf of the Group of 20 leading world economies. France is currently presiding the G-20, and Sarkozy will also visit China on Wednesday and Thursday for a G-20 financial meeting.

Japan's nuclear authorities have requested assistance from France's nuclear industry. France is the world's most nuclear energy-dependent country, with more than 70 percent of its electricity coming from nuclear reactors.

Two French nuclear experts left for Japan Monday night, a spokesperson for France's government nuclear research body said.

Both experts are employees of France's nuclear engineering giant Areva who are currently on loan to the government agency CEA, the spokesman said.

Areva declined to comment.

The Japanese electricity utility that operated the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant where a partial meltdown is believed to be occurring, has for the first time requested French help, France's industry minister Eric Besson said in an interview on radio station RTL.