Japan and Turkey have signed a deal to build a major nuclear power plant on Turkey's Black Sea coast, a milestone for the Japanese nuclear industry as it recovers from the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan hailed the $22 billion contract as a "very important step" that would transform bilateral relations with Japan into a "strategic partnership."

A Japanese-French consortium won the giant contract to build Turkey's second nuclear plant, Japan's first successful bid on an overseas nuclear project since a tsunami wrecked the power station in Fukushima.

Turkey weathered criticism for teaming up with Japan in light of the catastrophe, but "despite that, we have taken this step," Erdogan said.

“What happened at Fukushima upset all of us,” he said, adding that “successful steps are being taken now with the use of improved technology.”

Like Japan, Turkey lies in a part of the world that is prone to earthquakes, making it essential that nuclear plants are designed to resist the effects of such events.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who arrived in Turkey as part of a larger Middle Eastern tour, said that Japan had learnt important lessons from the 2011 catastrophe.

"Japan will share its experience and the lessons it has learnt and will contribute to the improvement of nuclear security at the highest level," Abe said in comments translated into Turkish.

Abe and Erdogan also signed an agreement covering the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Source: Agencies