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British Embassy disputes UK renewable energy target as quoted by Japan

  • January 15, 2021
  • , Asahi , p. 7
  • JMH Translation

By Satoshi Shinden and Yo Noguchi


The Japanese government’s document on “green growth strategy,” compiled for the purpose of achieving zero carbon emissions by 2050, incorrectly quoted the British government’s policy goal for renewable energy. The British Embassy in Japan pointed this out to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The number was included as a reference point for setting a goal for renewable energy at 50 to 60% of the energy mix by 2050 as proposed by METI. METI may correct the error after discussing the matter with the British Embassy.


The document stipulated that Japan’s growth strategy aims to introduce as much renewable energy as possible to achieve a high renewable-energy ratio in the energy mix by 2015—”approximately 50 to 60%,” for example—stating that “even under the UK’s aggressive scenario with the world’s largest wind-power generation system it is around 65%” and it is “55% in the U.S.”


On Jan. 12, the British Embassy sent an e-mail to METI and other government agencies as well as some NPOs, pointing out that the METI document included misleading contents, including the quote of “around 65%,” which is neither a goal nor a policy of the UK.


According to the Embassy, while the UK has announced the goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, it has not set a numerical target for renewable energy. An expert panel launched by the British government in Dec. 9 proposed a timetable for introducing renewable energy to help achieve zero emissions, but the ratios of renewable energy suggested by the panel—60% by 2030, 70% by 2035, and 80% by 2050—were different from those quoted by METI.


The Japanese government’s goal for introducing renewable energy has been criticized as being “too low” by private organizations and others. Some suspect that METI might have intentionally misquoted the British number.


The Energy Strategy Office of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (METI) responded to the Asahi Shimbun’s inquiry by explaining that the quote of “about 65%” was based on the 2019 proposal made by an expert organization in the UK. The Energy Strategy Office added it was not aware of the numbers in the organization’s new proposal issued in December 2020. According to the office, it was contacted by the British Embassy earlier this month and hopes to discuss the matter with officials there to seek the best solution, including revising the description.

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