Japan reiterates plan to cut reliance on coal

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Koichi Hagiuda speaks at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, September 16, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Files

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TOKYO, May 27 (Reuters) - Japan reiterated on Friday its policy to reduce reliance on coal-fired electricity generation as much as possible, with plans to phase out inefficient coal power plants towards 2030.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda made the comments when asked about an expected communique to be issued by energy, climate and environment ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) countries.

A draft communique, seen by Reuters ahead of May 25 to 27 talks between the ministers, showed the group would consider committing to a phase-out of coal by 2030, though sources suggested that opposition from the United States and Japan could derail such a pledge. [nL2N2XI09Z]

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"We will steadily fade out inefficient coal-fired power plants towards 2030 and advance our efforts to replace them with decarbonized thermal power by utilizing hydrogen, ammonia and carbon capture utilization and storage toward 2050," Hagiuda told a news conference.

"I think what Japan has been advocating through every opportunity so far is percolating" through partner countries, he said.

Japan's policy allows for continued operation of efficient coal-fired power stations. Last year the government said it aimed at cutting coal's share of electricity generation to 19% by 2030 from 32% in 2019.

As for natural gas, the minister said: "In order to secure a stable energy supply and reduce reliance on Russian gas, we will diversify our supply sources by investing in liquefied natural gas and promoting investment of upstream development outside of Russia."

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Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Bradley Perrett

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