Energy Policy Shift Unlikely as Japan Ushers in New Leader

This article first appeared on the BNEF mobile app and the Bloomberg Terminal.

  • Candidates don’t have strong energy policy except for Kono
  • Renewable energy may be boosted if Kono wins

Japan is likely to have a new prime minister by mid September after the ruling Liberal Democratic party set the timeline and rules for replacing Shinzo Abe. The leadership shift is unlikely to have much impact on energy policy as the candidates expected to seek the top post haven’t staked strong positions — with the exception of defense minister Taro Kono.

Of the candidates expected to vie, former defense minister Shigeru Ishiba and Tomomi Inada have supported nuclear energy, While Ishiba could set a policy to replace old with new nuclear, recent bribery scandals involving Kansai Electric Power Co. could dim the chances of both candidates.

Kono, current defense minister and a former foreign minister, is against nuclear and has strongly supported renewable energy by being responsible for forming the climate change advisory panel at the foreign ministry.

Other candidates, including chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga, may carry forward current policy, which is a balanced generation mix of nuclear, coal, gas and renewables.

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