My previous article mentioned that it is now very difficult to pursue the current Japan’s energy strategies highly depending on nuclear energy because its ‘safety myth’ collapsed as a result of Chernobyl-level radioactive leak from the Fukushima nuclear plant. Further, reducing GHG emissions by 25% by 2020 seems infeasible because its global warming strategies are similarly focusing on nuclear energy. Then, in order to suffice the present/future energy demand and achieve the mid-term GHG reduction target, Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, seeks to replace nuclear energy by renewable energy especially solar power and his favourite wind power.
As a result, on May 25th, Kan at the OECD in Paris addressed that Japan will install solar panels onto ‘10,000’ houses. However, this proposition is not the official Government’s policy proposition but just his idea off-hand. Even his cabinet members including the Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry, Banri Kaieda, mainly responsible for energy issues, came to know it after he suddenly made this proposition in Paris. Unsurprisingly, Kaieda was very frustrated saying ‘I came to know it through the media. I was not told’. Further, Kansei Nakano, National public safety commission chairman, criticized ‘as a member of Kan’s cabinet, I want to share information and concerns with Kan before Kan proposes something’. As Kan was severely criticized by his cabinet members, on May 31st, he finally apologize for his inappropriate behaviour.
Though his proposition might have been welcomed for those for solar power, it is therefore unclear whether Japan will actually pursue solar power. Moreover, it should be pointed that the main world-wide concern may not be Japan’s future energy strategies but resolution of the current nuclear accident, as clearly indicated at G8 summit again in France. The Japanese Government must solve the accident as soon as it can and disclose any information that it obtains during dealing with the accident. This is the main responsibility for Japan to fulfill as information on the accident will be utilized for other nations that have nuclear power plants and Kan should be strongly aware of this responsibility.