ベトナム原発 受注の成功を次につなげよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 2, 2010)
Vietnam N-plant deal a welcome start
ベトナム原発 受注の成功を次につなげよ(11月1日付・読売社説)

It has become almost certain that Japanese firms will win contracts to construct two nuclear power plants in Vietnam. This will be the first time Japanese companies have won a bid to build a nw nuclear power plant in an emerging country.

Japan, which has lagged behind international rivals in races to build nuclear power plants, is regaining ground through joint efforts by the public and private sectors.

Global demand for infrastructure, including nuclear power stations and high-speed railway networks, is estimated to reach 41 trillion dollars by 2030.

Japan's chronically low birthrate and aging population will inevitably cause domestic demand for infrastructure to shrink in the future. This makes overseas markets all the more important. The forthcoming contract with Vietnam is a significant step forward.


Public-private cooperation

With this Vietnam contract as a springboard, cooperation between the public and private sectors must be bolstered so Japanese firms can win contracts for a wide array of foreign infrastructure projects.

During their meeting in Hanoi on Sunday, Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Tan Dung, agreed the two countries would work toward the early signing of a bilateral nuclear cooperation pact. In effect, this means Japan is a lock to construct two nuclear power plants in Vietnam.

The two plants will be built in the southern province of Ninh Thuan. Construction is scheduled to start in 2014, and the power plants are due to begin operating in 2020.

Earlier this year, Russia signed contracts to build Vietnam's first two nuclear power plants in the same province--the first stage of Vietnam's nuclear power project.

In December last year, a consortium of Japanese firms lost to its South Korean rival in a race to win contracts to build nuclear power plants in the United Arab Emirates.

In both these cases, top Russian and South Korean leaders were instrumental in their nations' bids, and this reportedly helped their sides land the contracts.

Japanese companies, on the other hand, were running on their own and apparently stumbled in the race against their counterparts at the final stage.


Government backup crucial

Vocal government support can go a long way toward winning contracts for massive projects in an emerging country. Japanese firms excel in technology, but they clearly ended up missing the boat due to a lack of concrete government support.

Reflecting on these failures, nine electric power companies and a public-private investment fund, among others, established the International Nuclear Energy Development of Japan Co. last month. The new company's main objective is to help Japanese firms win foreign orders for nuclear power plants.

Ministers of the Kan Cabinet have been actively working on foreign governments to help Japanese firms win projects overseas. Securing the Vietnamese contract shows their efforts can bear fruit.

Nuclear power plant construction projects are being planned in other Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. In Vietnam, a rapid-transit system linking Hanoi with Ho Chi Minh is in the pipeline.

Whether Japanese firms can win contracts for these projects will come down to whether the public and private sectors can pull in the same direction.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 1, 2010)
(2010年11月1日01時25分 読売新聞)

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