Tokyo, July 9 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government decided Thursday to stop providing financial aid in principle for exports of coal-fired thermal power plants, which emit large amounts of carbon dioxide, as part of its efforts to curb global warming.
The policy was included in an outline of the government’s next infrastructure export strategy at the day’s meeting of a related task force.
With stricter conditions set for offering public aid for coal-burning power plant exports in order to accelerate decarbonization, the government is poised to make a shift away from its stance of promoting such exports under its growth strategy.
While some countries have no choice but to rely on coal-burning thermal power generation, Japan will encourage these nations to promote decarbonization, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshi Kajiyama told reporters after the meeting of the infrastructure strategy task force.
Under the next infrastructure export strategy, public support for coal-fired power plant exports, such as loans by the state-backed Japan Bank for International Cooperation, will be provided only if importing countries are making decarbonization efforts.
Japan will also support the introduction of solar power and other renewable energy sources, and carbon capture and storage technologies, as well as the compilation of environmental policies.
The outline also calls for accelerating investment in the global medical supply chains amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Regarding coal-fired thermal plants as a base-load power source capable of generating electricity sustainably at low costs, Japan has so far extended loans and other forms of public aid for exports of new-type coal-burning power plants that emit less CO2 to countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia if requested by the importing nations.
But Tokyo has been under severe criticism, mainly from European nations, at a time when calls for realizing a carbon-free society are growing worldwide in the fight against climate change.
Japan’s policy regarding coal-burning thermal power generation was slammed at the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP25, in Spain in December last year.
In February this year, Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi pointed to a need to set tougher conditions for offering public support for coal-fired thermal power plant exports.
Since then, the Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry have held discussions on the matter.