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Shifting to Renewables in Japan – An Uphill Task

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TOKYO - Renewable energy is emerging as the "clinch deal" in Japan`s painful power crisis that pits the government and business against public demand for zero nuclear power. But experts say the going is easier said than done.

"Renewable energy is now seen as the way forward for a decision that is heavily political. But issues remain contentious," said energy expert Professor Takao Kashiwage, the advisory head of the government`s New Energy Subcommittee.

Kashiwage points out that renewable energy sources - mainly solar, wind, small hydro and geothermal from hot springs - while seen as a solution are still fraught with uncertainties given their dependence on the vagaries of the weather or public support.

"For a leading economy such as Japan`s, I would support keeping nuclear power as a firm option even though we must work to lessen that percentage," he told IPS.

He explained that research has shown windmills located on Japanese seashores produce power that drops during the summer when winds are usually not strong. And in winter, when daylight hours shrink, solar generated energy is less abundant.

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