Japan eyes renewables, nuclear restart in race for 2030 climate goal

Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry aimed to win Cabinet approval of a new basic energy plan before the Oct 31 start of a key UN climate conference. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan aims to expand renewable energy as much as possible and restart nuclear power plants whose safety has been confirmed, its new industry minister said on Tuesday (Oct 5), to meet a 2030 target of a 46 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions from 2013 levels.

Japan, which has pledged carbon neutrality by 2050, nearly doubled in April its target for emissions cuts to 46 per cent by 2030, in response to pressure from the United States and some of its own firms.

"I would like to promote the maximum adoption of renewable energy, thorough energy conservation and the restart of nuclear power plants with the highest priority on safety," Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda said in his first news conference.

He called for a concerted effort to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 as well as the reinforced 2030 target, adding that his ministry aimed to win Cabinet approval of a new basic energy plan before the Oct 31 start of a key United Nations climate conference.

The comments show that the government of new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will continue the previous administration's energy policy.

The Industry Ministry will keep up the promotion of nuclear fuel cycle policy in line with the government's aim to cut high-level radioactive waste and make it less hazardous, Mr Hagiuda added.

In April, Japan decided to release into the sea more than one million tonnes of contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant, a move China labelled "extremely irresponsible", while South Korea protested to the Japanese ambassador in Seoul.

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