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Japan's Minister Speaks on Energy Policies at IRENA Meeting

2018/01/17 18:34
Junichi Oba, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Institute
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Taro Kono, Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs, delivering a speech on Japan's foreign policies on renewable energy at the eighth general meeting of the IRENA (source: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Kono shaking hands with IRENA Secretary General Amin after a talk (source: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Taro Kono, Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs, attended the eighth general meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which took place in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Jan 14, 2018.

He delivered a speech on policies and had talks with Adnan Amin, secretary general of IRENA, and the heads of Pacific island. This is the first time that Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs has attended a general meeting of the IRENA.

At the beginning of the "Innovation for Energy Transformation: E-Mobility," a round-table conference of cabinet members, which took place in the morning of Jan 14, 2018, Minister Kono gave a lecture titled "Japan's Foreign Policies on Renewable Energy - Future of Climate Change and Energy."

In the lecture, he said that the world has already entered the era of renewable energy and that Japan is starting late in terms of the introduction of renewable energy.

Specifically, Kono mentioned the ratio of renewable energy in Japan's Energy Mix (the composition of Japan's power source), which is aimed at 22-24% in 2030. On the other hand, the world's ratio of renewable energy is currently 24% on average. He said that Japan's goal is very low and that he is sad as Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs.

He also said that the current situation of renewable energy in Japan is the result of not correctly understanding the global trends and continuing to take short-term, temporary measures.

Furthermore, he pointed out three problems. First, due to the inflexible management of the feel-in tariff policy, the burden on the public increased to US$24 billion in fiscal 2017 and is expected to further increase. Second, Japan is not benefiting from the global drastic price decrease of solar and wind power. Third, Japan's efforts to use decentralized power sources and heat from renewable energy-based power plants are insufficient.