Japan eyes changes in energy policy after nuclear catastrophe

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, May 4 -- As part of a review of the nation’s growth strategy, Japan is considering a drastic shift in its energy policy to better deal with the consequences of the Mar. 11 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis.

“The growth strategy, mainly its energy environment policy, must be transformed in quality,” said Koichiro Gemba, Japan’s national policy minister, referring to policies developed in June 2010.

Under that growth strategy, Tokyo aimed to have the nation's economy expand a real 2% or more on average by fiscal 2020, by focusing budgetary allocations and accelerating deregulation on seven designated areas such as energy and the environment.

Under the revised growth strategy, however, Japan reportedly will put more emphasis on the development of renewable energy such as power generated by solar, wind, and geothermal heat, as well as the enhancement of electric accumulators.

More to the point, Japan will seek to secure electricity without depending on nuclear power too much.

Government sources said projects for exporting nuclear power plant technologies will “inevitably” be revised as a perception is prevailing among government officials that it would be difficult for a country which let a nuclear crisis happen to sell such plants overseas.

Last October, Japan agreed with Vietnam to construct two nuclear power plants, and it has been in negotiations with Turkey for similar exports. But Tokyo may halt such projects at least until Japan completes its investigation of the radiation leakage at nuclear facilities damaged after the earthquake and tsunami.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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