Govt industry panel starts talks on energy plan

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A Japanese industry ministry panel began discussions on Wednesday to review the country’s basic energy plan over the medium to long term.

At the day’s meeting, some experts of a subcommittee of the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy called for talks to build new nuclear power plants and rebuild existing ones.

The subcommittee plans to draw a conclusion on the basic plan as early as the end of March 2018, after chiefly discussing whether to put more nuclear reactors back into operations and how to lower costs for renewable energy.

The basic energy plan must be reviewed every three years under law. The current one, adopted in April 2014, describes nuclear power as an important base-load electricity source.

Energy-mix targets in the basic plan call for raising the proportion of nu- clear power to 20-22 percent of the country’s overall energy sources in fiscal 2030, against 2 percent estimated for fiscal 2016, and that of renewable energy to 22-24 percent, against 15 percent.

Japan needs to operate some 30 nuclear reactors to meet the nuclear power source target, while only five reactors have been restarted under the current safety standards introduced after the 2011 nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

The ministry is cautious about including nuclear plant construction or reconstruction policy in the upcoming new basic energy plan, despite the request from some subcommittee members.

Machinery orders slump

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s seasonally adjusted core machinery orders in June fell 1.9 percent month on month, down for the third straight month, reflecting sluggish demand from manufacturers, the Cabinet Office said Thursday.

Private-sector orders excluding those for ships and power equipment, closely watched as a leading indicator of corporate capital spending, came to ¥790.0 billion.

On the basis of the result, the government agency kept its basic assessment of machinery orders unchanged, saying that machinery orders have stalled.

The June reading followed a 3.6 percent drop in May.Speech

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