JAPAN | Diet begins debate on renewable energy bill

Posted on July 14, 2011


JAPAN | NHK | 14 July 2011

Japan’s Diet has begun discussing a bill to compel utilities to purchase solar, wind and other renewable energy.

The deliberations began at a Lower House plenary session on Thursday, more than three months after the bill was submitted to the Diet.

Industry minister Banri Kaieda called on opposition parties for cooperation, saying it is significant for the government to promptly build a framework to expand the use of renewable energy.

Kaieda said renewable energy is an important energy source for Japan’s future.

Kaieda also referred to remarks made by Prime Minister Naoto Kan at a news conference on Wednesday. Kan said Japan should aim toward creating a society that can get along without nuclear energy.

Industry minister Kaieda said the public’s trust in the safety of nuclear power is being shaken and the government needs to take this reality seriously.

He added that the government will review its nuclear policies and examine how to manage nuclear power, based on data on the nuclear accident in Fukushima.

Tomoyuki Taira from the governing Democratic Party said the introduction of the purchase system would contribute to improving Japan’s energy self-sufficiency ratio and tackling global warming.

But he said it would also impose the burden of higher electricity prices on the public.
He said it will be essential to seek understanding from the public by giving sufficient explanations.

Mitsue Kondo from the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party said the business community is raising objections that the system would adversely affect industrial competitiveness and people’s lives.

She asked whether the government really considers the system to be useful, saying it lacks consideration of industries using electricity to do business.

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