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Nuclear problems provide opening for Japan collaboration

Germany is to offer advice and research collaboration to Japan following the latter’s decision to reconsider its use of nuclear energy.

Annette Schavan, the German research minister, travelled to Japan on 30 September for a Science and Technology in Society forum in Kyoto. Schavan said she wants to work with Japan on what she calls Energiewende—energy change towards safer and more sustainable technologies.

“During this journey it is very important for me to show the important role research politics have in determining the success of energy changes,” Schavan said.

The German government launched a €3.5 billion energy research programme in August to facilitate its own nuclear exit programme. On 4 October Schavan will talk to the German-Japanese Forum about German efforts to reduce reliance on nuclear power, and the effects of the Fukushima disaster in March on German politics.

Germany has had research relations with Japan since the mid-19th century. Most collaboration takes place in physics and medicine, but Schavan said the challenges both countries face in exiting nuclear power could lead to greater collaboration.