Tokyo yesterday pledged to modestly boost the amount of energy coming from renewable sources to about a quarter in a plan that also keeps nuclear power central to the nation’s policy.
The plan aims to have 22 to 24 percent of Japan’s energy needs met by renewable sources, by 2030, a figure critics are calling unambitious based on current levels of about 15 percent.
Japan’s policy also envisions nuclear providing more than 20 percent of the nation’s energy needs by 2030, reflecting the government’s ongoing commitment to the sector despite public concern after the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster.
The government has reduced the nation’s reliance on the sector, but defends nuclear as an emissions-free energy source that would help it meet its climate change commitments.
However, critics say that the government has done too little to push renewable energy.
Japan generates about 90 percent of its energy from fossil fuels, and the plan calls for that figure to drop to just more than half, with energy efficiency policies to cut demand.
Reliance on fossil fuels increased after the Fukushima disaster, as public anger over the accident temporarily pushed all of the nation’s nuclear reactors offline.
Six reactors are operating and utilities face public opposition to activating more, despite political support for the nuclear industry.
TEPCO, which operated the Fukushima plant, last week signaled that it was ready to resume work on the construction of a new nuclear plant in the north.
“While we have strong obligations resulting from the Fukushima accident, we believe that it is our duty to ensure sufficient electricity supplies to avoid cuts,” TEPCO director Tomoaki Kobayakawa said on Friday last week.
The plan also includes a pledge to reduce the nation’s 47-tonne stockpile of plutonium.
Japan has sought to generate energy from the material, but decades of research has not produced a viable method, leading to criticism of Tokyo for continuing to produce and possess plutonium.
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
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