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U.S. energy official voices concern over zero nuclear energy target via the Japan Times

WASHINGTON — U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman has voiced concerns about Japan’s apparent plans to end its nuclear energy dependence by the 2030s, Democratic Party of Japan executive Seiji Maehara said Wednesday.

At a meeting with the DPJ’s policy chief Tuesday, Poneman said that if Japan takes such steps it might have unexpected effects on the United States and other concerned parties, Maehara said.

In a revamp of its energy and environmental strategy, the government is expected to state that it will aim to eliminate all reliance on nuclear energy.

At his meeting with Poneman, Maehara explained that Japan will set a target but stop short of fully committing to it. This is because sellers of oil and natural gas would demand unreasonable prices should Japan declare its commitment to zero reliance, Maehara told Poneman.

Poneman replied that Japan must make its own decision on energy issues but requested measures to minimize any negative effects that may arise if Japan sets a zero nuclear target, according to Maehara. Japan should stay flexible about implementing the strategy, Poneman added, noting the importance of holding further discussions. If the world’s third-biggest economy snaps up fossil fuels, energy prices will change significantly, Poneman was quoted as saying.

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