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Korea Gets 11B Yen in Reactor Orders

Posted February. 28, 2006 02:59,   


The Mainichi Shimbun reported on February 27 that the Japanese government has decided to give orders to Korean companies worth 11 billion yen (approximately 93.5 billion won) for its International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, which is 20 percent of the budget intended for its own companies.

Japan received preferential treatment, such as increased orders, at the expense of allowing France the privilege of hosting the construction site, but with Korea, which supported Japan’s hosting of the project, upset over Japan reaping the benefits alone, Japan reportedly ended up giving “favors” to Korea.

The ITER construction is an international project to validate the possible commercialization of fusion energy in preparation for alternate fossil fuel energy sources such as oil and coal, involving seven countries, including Korea, the U.S., the E.U, China, Russia, Japan, and India. Out of the total construction cost of $5 billion, the E.U. is paying 45 percent, and the remaining six countries are paying nine percent, respectively.

By giving up its bid to host the project last June, Japan received the following preferential treatment: Japanese firms got 20 percent of the construction orders placed by the E.U; related facilities were built in Japan; and the number of Japanese employees was increased.

The Korean government opposed the one-sided nature of the preferences, saying, “Neither Korea nor Japan is the host country, and it’s unfair for Japan to get sole preferential treatment.”

Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com