Japan is the only G7 country on a trajectory of increasing coal use. Coal, along with other fossil fuel-based power generation, was used to meet energy demand after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011. Under immense public opposition post-Fukushima, Japan decommissioned its entire nuclear power plant fleet cutting 28.6% of its electricity supply in the year following the disaster.
The Japanese government continues to actively support coal and specifically considers it a cost-effective and stable source of baseload power supply in an energy-poor country that is heavily reliant on imports of all fossil fuels.
Japan is also one of the few OECD countries that actively facilitates the expansion of coal power internationally—between 2007 and 2015, Japan’s public financing agencies had provided over $22 billion to finance overseas coal power plants.
But if Japan aims to address its domestic challenges related to reducing reliance on fuel imports and if it plans to respond to international pressures to meet emissions targets, it will need to limit its support of coal power.