(Asahi: December 15, 2015 – p. 2)
Japan has already set targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26% from fiscal 2013 levels in fiscal 2030 and achieve an 80% reduction in 2050 from 2013. The government wants to complete plans for implementing emissions reduction measures before it hosts a summit meeting among the leaders of G7 nations in the Ise-Shima region in May, but it must clear many hurdles to come up with effective measures.
To achieve the 26% reduction goal, the government envisages having over 20% of all power generated come from nuclear power plants. But this is becoming a real challenge, as it means a number of nuclear power plants will need to be in operation for longer than 40 years, the legal limit for the operation of nuclear plants as a general rule. It also remains to be seen when offline reactors will be able to resume operations.
The government plans to craft strategies on energy and environmental innovation by next spring to promote the use of renewable energy sources and energy-saving technologies.
Meanwhile, businesses and electric utilities are taking the initiative in achieving the reduction target on their own. This has led to a situation in which the government is turning down the companies’ coal-fired power generation plans because they would release more carbon dioxide into the air.
Many other countries are adopting the emissions trading mechanism and stepping up efforts to introduce carbon taxes to combat global warming. Japan has been reluctant to implement these measures because they would “place a burden on companies.”