(EnergyAsia, September 18 2012, Tuesday) — Greenpeace said it “cautiously welcomed” the Japanese government’s decision to phase out nuclear energy use by 2030 but warned the country remains exposed to disaster for another 18 years.

The government has announced plans to expand the country’s production and consumption of renewable energy under its landmark new ‘energy and environment strategy’.

Describing the strategy is a long-overdue recognition that nuclear power is neither needed nor wanted in Japan, Greenpeace said the government reacted only after relentless protests by the Japanese public following the Fukushima disaster of July 2011.

“The government’s strategy involves a nuclear phase-out nearly two decades later than needed, It also provides clarity for the business community that renewable power, not nuclear, is the future,” said Kazue Suzuki, Greenpeace Japan nuclear campaigner.

“The government must use its new energy strategy as a starting point for a far more ambitious renewable policy, greater energy efficiency measures, and increasingly bold strides towards the sustainable green economy that will secure Japan’s future prosperity.”

In its “Energy [R]evolution” report, Greenpeace presented a scenario that Japan can support an economic recovery while meeting its 2020 obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without restarting any of its nuclear plants taken offline after the Fukushima disaster.

It said the government’s Feed in Tariff (FiT) is already demonstrating strong results.

On July 1, after just one month of operation, 560MW or 20% of the government’s total aim for nine-months was achieved, showing that right legislation is already kick-starting a renewable energy boom.

“For too long Japan’s leaders have ignored their people and gambled the health, safety and economic stability of every citizen on nuclear power, and as the people of Fukushima continue to suffer, so does the rest of our country,” said Mr Suzuki.

“This announcement must become law, otherwise it will be seen as nothing but lip service to buy votes before the coming election.

“A nuclear-free future is not a choice, it’s an inevitability. This energy strategy provides Japan’s first real step in eliminating nuclear risks forever, and it will send a message to other countries that it is time to end the use of this dangerous technology once and for all.”