TOKYO (AP) — Japan will achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared Monday, outlining an ambitious agenda as the country struggles to balance economic and pandemic concerns.
The policy speech at the outset of the parliamentary session was Suga’s first since he took office on Sept. 16 after his boss Shinzo Abe resigned over health reasons. It reflects Suga’s pragmatic approach to getting things done, though it’s unclear he will have the political heft needed to overcome vested interests in weaning this resource-scarce nation from its reliance on imports of oil and gas.
Now out of Abe’s shadow, back home Suga has been pumping out consumer-friendly policies. He has earned a reputation as a cost cutter.
Japan’s current energy plan, set in 2018, calls for 22-24% of its energy to come from renewables, 20-22% from nuclear power and 56% from fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas. Energy experts are now discussing revisions to Japan’s basic energy plan for 2030 and 2050. The 2050 emissions-free target would require drastic changes and likely prompt calls for more nuclear plant restarts.