Japan Environment Minister Says Coal Plant Approval Problematic

(Bloomberg) — Approval of a coal-fired power plant planned
by a venture between Osaka Gas Co. and Electric Power
Development Co
. is problematic in the context of the need to cut
greenhouse gases, Japan’s environment minister said.

The comment came after the Nikkei newspaper said the
minister, Yoshio Mochizuki, opposes the plant because it
jeopardizes Japan’s greenhouse gas reduction target.

“It is difficult for the project to gain approval at this
point because a framework hasn’t been set up” to tackle climate
change in the power industry, Mochizuki told reporters Friday in
Tokyo. “There is a threat to achieving our emission cut target
if we continue introducing coal power stations.”

Japan, the world’s fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse
gases, is proposing a 26 percent cut to emissions from 2013
levels by 2030. The environment ministry has urged the power
industry to propose voluntary climate change measures.

“We expect the power industry to set an effective
framework as soon as possible,” Mochizuki said.

The 1,200-megawatt plant planned by Osaka Gas and Electric
Power is to be located in the western prefecture of Yamaguchi,
according to the venture’s website. Operations are expected to
start in the first half of the next decade.

A spokesperson at Osaka Gas referred questions to Electric
Power, which is better known as J-Power. Officials at J-Power
weren’t immediately available for comment.

“We need to reduce coal as we make international
pledges,” Mochizuki said, adding that Japan can make
contributions to developing countries with Japan’s clean coal
technology to reduce emissions. “It’s very important to strike
a balance.”

Japan has plans for more than 23,000 megawatts worth of
coal power units, according to data compiled by environmental
group Kiko Network based in Kyoto.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Chisaki Watanabe in Tokyo at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
Iain Wilson, Jason Rogers

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