Japan's Draft Growth Strategy Lessens Reliance on Nuclear Energy

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  • A combination photo shows a tsunami-hit area (top) taken from a helicopter on March 11, 2011 in Natori in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan and the same area pictured from the helicopter on February 14, 2021, ahead of the 10-year anniversary of the 2011 disaster that killed thousands and set off a nuclear crisis.  Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

    A combination photo shows a tsunami-hit area (top) taken from a helicopter on March 11, 2011 in Natori in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan and the same area pictured from the helicopter on February 14, 2021, ahead of the 10-year anniversary of the 2011 disaster that killed thousands and set off a nuclear crisis. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

    TEMPO.COTokyo - Following protests from two Cabinet ministers, Japan's future reliance on nuclear power has been lessened in a draft of its economic strategy set to be finalized in July, local media quoted government sources as saying Thursday, June .

    According to informed sources, following protests from Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi and Administrative Reform Minister Taro Kono, both of whom are advocates of renewable energy being used for Japan to achieve carbon neutrality, some pertinent phrases from the draft have been cut.

    The phrase the Japanese government "will continue to seek to make the most of nuclear power" has been removed from the draft, which now reads, "While reducing reliance on nuclear power as much as possible, the government will seek to steadily proceed with the restarting of reactors in the country while placing utmost priority on safety."

    The country's use of nuclear power has also been changed in the draft from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry-supported description of it being "an established decarbonization technology" to "an option in practical use for decarbonization."

    The industry ministry's original phrase was referenced in the government's "green growth strategy" compiled last December following Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's pledge last October to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

    Suga, in April, has since pledged to achieve by fiscal 2030 a 46 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with fiscal 2013.

    The Japanese leader has made achieving a carbon neutral society one of his central policies and is hoping Japan can be prominent on the world stage in the fight against climate change.

    Following the earthquake and tsunami-triggered Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, many nuclear power plants around the country remain offline owing to Japan's nuclear watchdog's more stringent safety regulations.

    As such, and owing to the government's potential lesser commitment to the future use of nuclear and energy derived from fossil fuels, informed sources have said that the country's mid- to long-term energy strategy, set to be compiled this autumn, will likely reflect the increased importance of renewable energy. 

    Xinhua