Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has suggested to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Tokyo may accept Indo-US nuclear cooperation even though New Delhi has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, sources said in Washington on Wednesday.
Japan's suggested the support, which comes at a time when Washington is trying to secure an agreement from a group of 45 nuclear supplier countries to export technology to India, has been conveyed to the US government, said the sources familiar with last week's talks between Singh and Abe.
A US administration official indicated that the United States expects Japan's support.
"Our understanding or my understanding at least, is that the major countries in the Nuclear Suppliers Group - Russia, Germany, Britain, France, Australia and Japan - would be in agreement," the official said.
Washington needs the agreement from the group, which has imposed restrictions on nuclear trade with India and requires the group's guidelines to be changed before it can sell nuclear reactors and fuel to New Delhi, but Japan - the only country to have suffered nuclear attacks - had withheld expressing its position on the proposal.
According to earlier reports, Abe had told the Indian Prime Minister during his visit to Japan that Tokyo was still "mulling" its stance.
But a source said the Japanese premier had actually told him that Japan "would like to consider (its support) in a forward-looking manner.