On December 6, the government of Japan published a draft (opinion) "Basic Energy Plan" on future directions for energy development in Japan, including renewables and nuclear. The plan is set to be confirmed by the Cabinet during January 2014. The draft plan calls nuclear "important" for Japan and does not set specific targets for renewable energy.
At a December 6 news conference, Toshimitsu Motegi, the economy, trade and industry minister, had the following to say about the role of nuclear energy: "From the standpoint of stable supply (of electricity), reducing costs (incurred for power generation) and as a measure against global warming, we are moving toward making it an important base power source that we should continue to utilize on the major precondition that safety is secured."
The previous Basic Energy Plan compiled in 2010 aimed to boost reliance on nuclear power to some 50 percent of the nation’s energy needs in 2030 from around 30 percent. But it also proposed much higher shares of renewable energy, of up to 30-35% by 2030.
At the same time as this plan was released, the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation (JREF) published its own proposal for a Basic Energy Plan. This proposal aims for zero nuclear power and much greater use of renewable energy and natural gas for electricity, along with faster-than-expected improvements in electricity efficiency and demand reduction. By 2020, the electricity share of renewables should increase to at least 20%, up from 11-12% today (including 2.4% from non-hydro renewables today). And the plan shows renewables potentially reaching to 40% share by 2030. The plan also puts much greater emphasis on all forms of distributed generation.
An English-language translation of the JREF proposal is now available.