Japan

Japan court supports planned restart of 2 nuclear reactors

TOKYO (AP) — A court rejected an injunction requested by local residents opposed to resuming operations of two nuclear reactors in southern Japan, giving the go-ahead Wednesday for their restart as planned this summer.

The Kagoshima District Court decision regarding the Sendai No. 1 and No. 2 reactors was a major relief for the power industry and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's pro-business government. Another court last week banned restarts of two reactors in western Japan.

Japan logs 1st trade surplus in nearly 3 years on cheap oil

TOKYO (AP) — Japan posted its first monthly trade surplus in nearly three years in March thanks to falling import costs from cheaper oil prices, along with a modest recovery in exports.

But the stronger-than-expected surplus is unlikely to persist, analysts said.

Japan court rejects bid to restart 2 nuclear reactors

TOKYO (AP) — A court issued an injunction Tuesday ordering two nuclear reactors in western Japan to stay offline, rejecting regulators' safety approval for the facility ahead of their planned restart later this year, a decision that could further delay the government's restart plans.

The Fukui District Court ordered the operator, Kansai Electric Power Co., not to restart the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Takahama plant in Fukui prefecture, which is home to about a dozen reactors.

Japan aims to make 2020 Olympic Games 'sustainable'

TOKYO (AP) — Organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have promised the most innovative, impeccably run and "sustainable" games ever. With just a little more than five years to go, doubts are growing whether they will deliver on the last pledge.

Japan uses climate cash for coal plants in other countries

MUTTAGI, India (AP) — Despite mounting protests, Japan continues to finance the building of coal-fired power plants with money earmarked for fighting climate change, with two new projects underway in India and Bangladesh, The Associated Press has found.

Japan audit finds massive waste in Fukushima cleanup

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese government auditors say the operator of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant has wasted about a fifth of the 350 billion yen ($3 billion) it has spent to clean up the plant after it was destroyed by a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

A Board of Audit report described various expensive machines and untested measures that ended in failure. It also said the cleanup work has been dominated by one group of Japanese utility, construction and electronics giants despite repeated calls for more transparency and greater access for international bidders.

Oil

Japan trade gap narrows as lower oil prices reduce imports

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's trade deficit narrowed in February, thanks to a plunge in import costs due to lower crude oil prices. It was the 32nd straight month of deficits.

The Finance Ministry said Wednesday that the trade deficit fell 47 percent from a year earlier to 424.6 billion yen ($3.5 billion) last month, compared with a gap of 1.18 trillion yen in January. The gap was smaller than expected, but belied a weakening in export volumes.

Nobel-winner Oe: Japan should follow Germany, quit nuclear

TOKYO (AP) — Nobel-winning author Kenzaburo Oe said Tuesday that Japan's push to restart some nuclear reactors following the Fukushima disaster could lead to another crisis, and urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to follow Germany's example and phase out atomic energy.

Oe's remarks to reporters came a day after visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had decided to end her country's use of nuclear energy by 2022 because the Fukushima crisis convinced her of its risks.

Solar stymied in Japan by utilities, uncertainty

Source: 
The New York Times

Utilities’ refusal to buy solar power -– brought on as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government takes a second look at the country's commitment to clean energy -- has raised doubts about the future of the country's once-booming solar industry, The New York Times reports.

Japan negotiator: TPP trade deal with US do-able by spring

TOKYO (AP) — A deal between Japan and the U.S. needed to move ahead with a Pacific Rim trade pact is possible by this spring, a top Japanese trade negotiator said Tuesday.

Top negotiators for the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership meet in Hawaii next week. Wendy Cutler, acting deputy U.S. trade representative, will visit Japan for talks beginning Thursday on the politically sensitive issue of dismantling protections for Japan's farm products and for U.S. autos and auto parts.

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