The government made a cabinet decision on the sixth energy basic plan
On 22th October, the government made a cabinet decision on the sixth energy basic plan. The plan indicates the direction of the policies to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050 and summarizes issues faced by Japan’s energy supply and demand structure. The plan highlights how difficult it is to achieve stable supply and cost reduction while promoting climate change measures. There were no major changes from the draft presented by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in July.
About 6,400 opinions were collected through the public comment from 3rd September to 4th October.
While the opinions for promoting energy conservation and renewable energy were noticeable, there are concerns about stable supply and rising electricity price. There were also many opinions that we should aim for the society that does not depend on coal or nuclear power.
Based on the public comments, the government added the viewpoints which have not been presented in various councils or ruling party process and reviewed all the facts. No revisions have been made that would change the direction of the policy. The government specifically added the descriptions of the Sixth Assessment Report by the Working Group I of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC).
Approved sixth energy basic plan is characterized by the energy policy to achieve “substantially zero carbon emission in 2050” and a new greenhouse gas emission reduction target in 2030. On 22nd October, Koichi Hagiuda, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry issued a statement, “Based on the sixth energy basic plan, the government will make every effort to implement energy policy in cooperation with related ministries and agencies”
The previous fifth energy basic plan was approved in July 2018. The plan is stipulated to review “at least every three years” by the Basic Act on Energy Policy.
The study on the sixth energy basic plan began in October 2020 at the Strategic Policy Committee of the Advisory Committee for Energy and Natural Resources (The advisory body of the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry) and the ANRE has presented the draft in July 2021.
Regarding the cabinet decision, despite that various quarters gave a positive evaluation saying “it shows the expectations for nuclear power”(The Japan Atomic Industrial Forum), there are opinions such as “It is important to provide a stable supply of inexpensive electricity” in light of the fact that the price of fossil fuels remains at a high level.”(Kazuhiro Ikebe, chairman of The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan) and others said that measures to achieve carbon neutrality should be pursued with caution (The Federation of Electric Power Related Industry Worker’s Unions of Japan).