Japan is calling for more efforts to reduce carbon emissions by promoting renewable energy, but also with nuclear power despite the catastrophe of the Fukushima reactors in 2011.
The energy white paper, approved at the last Council of Ministers, says Japan faces an “urgent task” of reducing carbon emissions from power companies that have relied heavily on fossil fuels to make up for the shortage of cleaner nuclear power. The call comes as Fukushima’s nuclear reactors are slowly restarting amidst persistent anti-nuclear sentiments since the 2011 crisis.
Japan wants further development of renewable energy and sets a target of 22% to 24%, while keeping nuclear power at roughly the same level. It has also pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 26 per cent from 2013 levels by 2030. So far, it has achieved a 7 per cent reduction and is making progress, but it needs to make a greater effort, according to the document, which also says that the cost of renewable energy must come down.
While renewables account for 16 per cent of Japan’s energy supply, nuclear power remained at only 3 per cent in 2017, compared to the target of 20 to 22 per cent. Coal and natural gas accounted for 74%.
Before the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that destroyed the cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, nuclear power accounted for about a third of Japan’s energy supply.