After Fukushima, Japan gets green boom _ and glut

TOKYO (AP) — Like other Japanese who were banking on this country's sweeping move toward clean energy, Junichi Oba is angry.

Oba, a consultant, had hoped to supplement his future retirement income in a guilt-free way and invested $200,000 in a 50 kilowatt solar-panel facility, set up earlier this year in a former rice paddy near his home in southwestern Japan.

Japan hopes for future market for nuclear fuel tech

The Wall Street Journal

Japan is hoping that it could benefit in the future from adapting technologies developed to deal with melted spent nuclear fuel in the crippled reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, The Wall Street Journal reports.

More Fukushima refugees decide to keep away

The Wall Street Journal

Only a fifth of those now permitted to return to their homes near the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant have actually done so, and a new government survey has found the percentage of those vowing never to return to the town of Namie in the region is growing, The Wall Street Journal reports, noting that candidates in Sunday’s gubernatorial election haven’t agreed on the best way to rebuild.

US urges Japan to be bolder in opening markets

TOKYO (AP) — U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker is urging Japan to be bolder in opening its markets to help reach a deal on a pan-Pacific trade agreement.

Pritzker, who is leading the Commerce Department's first trade mission to Japan in two decades, said Tuesday that U.S. and Japanese negotiators were closing the gap on trade in farm goods and vehicles but that there were still "tough issues" to work on.

Executives from 20 leading medical and energy technology companies paid thousands of dollars each to join the trade mission to Japan and South Korea, Pritzker's first visit to Asia as commerce secretary.

Japan reactor near active volcanos called unsafe

TOKYO (AP) — A prominent volcanologist disputed Japanese regulators' conclusion that two nuclear reactors were safe from a volcanic eruption in the next few decades, saying Friday that such a prediction was impossible.

A cauldron eruption at one of several volcanos surrounding the Sendai nuclear power plant in southern Japan could not only hit the reactors but could cause a nationwide disaster, said Toshitsugu Fujii, University of Tokyo professor emeritus who heads a government-commissioned panel on volcanic eruption prediction.

Coal 'good for humanity,' Australia's Abbott says

The Sydney Morning Herald

Speaking at a new mine opening, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott praised coal as "good for humanity" and touted increasing trade with Japan in a potential rebuke of new Chinese tariffs on coal imports, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Japan having troubles integrating renewables into the grid


Half of Japan’s electricity utilities are halting new renewable energy projects coming online because of strains they place on the country’s fragmented grid system, E&E reports.

Japan making progress toward zero energy buildings

The Wall Street Journal

The Japanese goal – to make all public buildings zero energy by 2020 with private buildings following in the decade after that – isn’t unrealistic, an analyst told The Wall Street Journal, which reports that Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. hopes to put side solar panels into mass production next year.

Fukushima manager: No staff criticism, but complaints about ‘idiotic’ politicians

The Wall Street Journal

The Japanese government on Thursday released a full transcript of testimony from officials who spoke about the disaster at the Fukushima dai-ichi nuclear plant, in which the late facility manager Masao Yoshida had no problems with his staff response but complained about “idiotic politicians,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Nuke plant in southern Japan clears safety hurdle

TOKYO (AP) — A nuclear power plant in southern Japan won regulators' approval Wednesday for meeting safety requirements imposed after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, a key step toward becoming the first to restart under the tighter rules.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority formally approved an inspection report for the Sendai Nuclear Power Station's two reactors. The authority concluded that the reactors were in compliance with new regulations designed to avoid major damage during disasters such as the massive earthquake and tsunami that caused meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.


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