Japan’s ruling coalition – made up of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its coalition partner the New Komeito – approved on Thursday a draft of what would become the country’s energy policy in the immediate and long-term future. The draft had been sent for revisions to add more emphasis on renewable, but Thursday’s approval means the government is close to finalizing the a Basic Energy Plan for Japan, a first comprehensive energy policy for the country after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis radically changed the outlook on atomic power.
One of the points that the New Komeito has pushing for was the wording regarding the government’s commitment to increasing renewable energy as an alternative to nuclear power. Before the suggested revisions, the draft said that efforts to accelerate the introduction of renewable energy will be continued, but this was not enough for the LDP’s coalition ally, as they were asking for numerical targets to be included. As a result, the government has agreed to commit in the draft that it expected renewable energy to account for about 20 percent of total electricity supply by 2030, a commitment “far above” what was committed by the government before 2011.
As of the moment, all of the country’s 48 commercial reactors are currently offline over safety concerns after the Fukushima crisis. Those that are seeking to come offline are still waiting for the state safety assessments to finish. Media surveys have also shown that majority of the Japanese public hope that the government will push the country away from nuclear power, even as the ruling parties still define nuclear power as an “important” power source in the near future. Expectations are high that renewable energy will be brought in so that Japan will no longer have to rely on nuclear power, but there is a lot of doubt that this administration will support a tangible movement away from nuclear power.
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