An armed vessel docked today at a central Japanese port carrying the nation's first consignment of reprocessed nuclear fuel to land here in eight years.
The Pacific Heron, a specially adapted ship with a British police team on board to guard against possible hijack, arrived in the port of Omaezaki more than two months after leaving France.
The convoy, carrying the MOX fuel, a blend of plutonium and reprocessed uranium, is expected to unload part of the shipment here and continue its journey to two other ports near nuclear plants in southwestern Japan.
Officials have not revealed where and when the shipments will be unloaded, citing fears of terrorist attacks.
Three Japanese power companies, Kyushu Electric, Shikoku Electric and Chubu Electric, ordered the MOX fuel, which was recycled by French nuclear giant Areva.
Japan, the world's second largest economy, has virtually no energy sources of its own and relies on nuclear power to meet nearly one-third of its needs. It is looking to use MOX as nuclear fuel for the first time.
Japan has obtained MOX before, the last shipment was eight years ago, but none has actually been used in the country due to a data cover-up scandal and a series of accidents at nuclear plants.